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J Nutr. 2017 May;147(5):816-824. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.244624. Epub 2017 Mar 29.

Whole-Grain Intake, Reflected by Dietary Records and Biomarkers, Is Inversely Associated with Circulating Insulin and Other Cardiometabolic Markers in 8- to 11-Year-Old Children.

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Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark;
National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Søborg, Denmark.
Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
Department of Food Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden; and.
Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Background: Whole-grain consumption seems to be cardioprotective in adults, but evidence in children is limited.Objective: We investigated whether intakes of total whole grain and dietary fiber as well as specific whole grains were associated with fat mass and cardiometabolic risk profile in children.Methods: We collected cross-sectional data on parental education, puberty, diet by 7-d records, and physical activity by accelerometry and measured anthropometry, fat mass index by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and blood pressure in 713 Danish children aged 8-11 y. Fasting blood samples were obtained and analyzed for alkylresorcinols, biomarkers of whole-grain wheat and rye intake, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triacylglycerols, insulin, and glucose. Linear mixed models included puberty, parental education, physical activity, and intakes of energy, fruit and vegetables, saturated fat, and n-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids.Results: Median (IQR) whole-grain and dietary fiber intakes were 52 g/d (35-72 g/d) and 17 g/d (14-22 g/d), respectively. Fourteen percent of children were overweight or obese and most had low-risk cardiometabolic profiles. Dietary whole-grain and fiber intakes were not associated with fat mass index but were inversely associated with serum insulin [both P < 0.01; e.g., with 0.68 pmol/L (95% CI: 0.26, 1.10 pmol/L) lower insulin · g whole grain-1 · MJ-1]. Whole-grain oat intake was inversely associated with fat mass index, systolic blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol (all P < 0.05) as well as insulin (P = 0.003), which also tended to be inversely associated with whole-grain rye intake (P = 0.11). Adjustment for fat mass index did not change the associations. The C17-to-C21 alkylresorcinol ratio, reflecting whole-grain rye to wheat intake, was inversely associated with insulin (P < 0.001).Conclusions: Higher whole-grain intake was associated with lower serum insulin independently of fat mass in 8- to 11-y-old Danish children. Whole-grain oat intake was linked to an overall protective cardiometabolic profile, and whole-grain rye intake was marginally associated with lower serum insulin. This supports whole grains as healthy dietary components in childhood. This trial was registered at as NCT01577277.


alkylresorcinols; cardiovascular; children; fiber; metabolic syndrome; obesity

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