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J Nutr. 2016 Nov;146(11):2244-2251. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

A Whole-Grain Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Author information

Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute,
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.
Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute.
Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, and.
Analytical Sciences Department, Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland; and.
Division of Food and Nutrition Science, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg, Sweden.



Increased dietary whole-grain intake may protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD).


The objective was to evaluate the efficacy of whole grains compared with refined grains on body composition, hypertension, and related mediators of CVD in overweight and obese adults.


We conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover trial in 40 overweight or obese men and women aged <50 y with no known history of CVD. Complete whole-grain and refined-grain diets were provided for two 8-wk periods, with a 10-wk washout between diets. Macronutrient composition was matched, except for the inclusion of either whole grains or refined grains (50 g/1000 kcal in each diet). Measurements included blood pressure, body composition, blood lipids and adiponectin, and markers of inflammation and glycemia.


Thirty-three participants (6 men and 27 women) completed the trial [mean ± SD age: 39 ± 7 y; mean ± SD body mass index (in kg/m2): 33.1 ± 4.3]. Decreases in diastolic blood pressure were -5.8 mm Hg (95% CI: -7.7, -4.0 mm Hg) after the whole-grain diet and -1.6 mm Hg (95% CI: -4.4, 1.3 mm Hg) after the control diet (between effect, P = 0.01). Decreases in plasma adiponectin were -0.1 (95% CI: -0.9, 0.7) after the whole-grain diet and -1.4 (95% CI: -2.6, -0.3) after the control diet (between effect, P = 0.05). Decreases in diastolic blood pressure correlated with the circulating adiponectin concentration (r = 0.35, P = 0.04). Substantial reductions in body weight, fat loss, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol were observed during both diet periods, with no relevant difference between them.


The improvement in diastolic blood pressure was >3-fold greater in overweight and obese adults when they consumed a whole-grain compared with a refined-grain diet. Because diastolic blood pressure predicts mortality in adults aged <50 y, increased whole-grain intake may provide a functional approach to control hypertension. This may benefit patients at risk of vascular-related morbidity and mortality. This trial was registered at as NCT01411540.


blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; diet; obesity; whole grain

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

2Author disclosures: J-P Godin, S Kochhar, and AB Ross are employed by the Nestlé Research Center. JP Kirwan, SK Malin, AR Scelsi, EL Kullman, SD Navaneethan, MR Pagadala, JM Haus, and J Filion, no conflicts of interest. Nestlé marketing provided no input on the final data analysis, interpretation, or writing of this article.

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