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January 17, 2012

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I agree with Daniel about this study - better research needs to be conducted. However, whole grains do provide numerous benefits as compared to their empty calorie relatives (white breads, pastas, etc.). They contain fiber, which helps maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract and provides satiation. Whole grains, also, provide important vitamins and minerals. There are numerous low-carb diets advertised, but they are not for everyone. Many active individuals, such as runners, need to consume carbohydrates for energy and whole grains are a great option.

Common wisdom is that fiber is undigestible and benefits mostly by slowing rate of sugar absorption (which decrease spikes in blood glucose) and by absorbing water to facilitate satiety. What is forgotten is that fiber has effects on the microflora of the GI tract. This study talks about one of the interactions between fiber and microbes:
http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001227

The authors say, "Most people think of fiber as being the part of our food we can't digest—but with the help of symbiotic bacteria in our guts, we can actually get some nutrition from the complex carbohydrates such as cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin that make up plants' cell walls. The bacteria produce an arsenal of enzymes that break down these carbs into simple sugars, which are then in turn fermented to create short-chain fatty acids that human cells can absorb—and which can contribute as much as 10 percent of the calories our own cells require."

The authors note that two species of Bacteroides, B. ovatus and B. thetaiotaomicron do better when fed polysaccharides instead of the monosaccharides that the aforementioned polysaccharides are constituted of. This is because there are other beneficial biochemical components that come out of the enzymatic breakdown of these polysaccharides. This is just one hint that fiber helps "balance out" the biodiversity in our GI tract. Very interesting!

Although the study does not prove a direct link, it does point out a number of benefits associated with high consumption of whole grains. Fiber, folate, and many more important nutrients found in whole grains are essential to a healthy diet. I agree with Stephen that it is our job as healthcare providers to educate our patients about making healthy choices about diet when counseling about certain disease states. It is important that people realize that taking small steps, such as increasing whole grain consumption, may lead to big changes in their overall health in the long run.

I agree with Daniel opinion about this study. I do not believe that this study proved a strong cause and effect reason of high fiber intake linked to reduction in chronic diseases. I do believe this statement to be true, that those with healthier lifestyles tend to be healthier as children and adults. Those that eat high saturated fatty foods and sweets most of the time tend to be more overweight which will lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. It is very important to eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. Other studies have shown the benefits of fiber and cardioprotective effects, however, this study didn't prove that so well. I agree with the blog author, that more studies are needed.

This is a good article that stresses the importance of having fiber in our diet. Not everyone knows the importance of eating right so its nice to see information like this that shows how eating whole grain foods can lead to a reduced disease risk. As healthcare professionals it is always important to educate our patients on their lifestyle through proper diet and exercise.

All this study did was show that individuals who engage in a healthy lifestyle... engage in a healthy lifestyle. That is what is called a tautology - a meaningless statement. Is there another way to explain the causal link between fiber intake, nutrient intake, smoking, physical activity, and weight?

I really like this article because it really points at the fact that food can either help or harm our bodies. The American diet often consists of simple carbohydrates that are quickly metabolized by the body. This causes a significant spike in blood sugar and leaves the person feeling unsatisfied and hungry very soon after. By increasing fiber, through whole grains, the body digests the carbohydrates at a slower rate, and does not cause as high of a spike in blood sugar. It also helps to keep the body fuller for longer. Not to mention, whole grains pack a higher nutritional punch than many simple carbohydrates.

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