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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;83(1):124-31.

Whole-grain intake is inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome and mortality in older adults.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.



Whole-grain intake has been inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged populations, but the association has not been investigated in older adults. The metabolic consequence of consuming high whole-grain diets may differ in elderly persons, who are prone to greater insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance.


The aim of the present study was to examine the cross-sectional association between whole- and refined-grain intake, cardiovascular disease risk factors, prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease mortality in the same cohort of older adults.


The nutritional status of 535 healthy persons aged 60-98 y was determined from 1981 to 1984. The subjects kept a 3-d food record and had their blood tested for metabolic risk factors. The metabolic syndrome was defined based on criteria set by the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program. The vital status of the subjects was identified in October 1995.


The results showed a significant inverse trend between whole-grain intake and the metabolic syndrome (P for trend = 0.005) and mortality from cardiovascular disease (P for trend = 0.04), independent of demographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors. Fasting glucose concentrations and body mass index decreased across increasing quartile categories of whole-grain intake (P for trend = 0.01 and 0.03, respectively), independent of confounders, whereas intake of refined grain was positively associated with higher fasting glucose concentrations (P for trend = 0.04) and a higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (P for trend = 0.01).


Whole-grain intake is a modifiable dietary risk factor, and older and young adults should be encouraged to increase their daily intake to > or = 3 servings/d.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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