Why are whole-grain foods (e.g., whole-wheat) healthier than “white” refined foods?
A. According to Nicola M. McKeown, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at Tufts University, whole-grain foods are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. “The synergistic effect of these nutrients is important to overall health. When grains are refined, fiber and other nutrients, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6 and magnesium, are removed, and these are not replaced.” And research has consistently found that whole grains reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer, whereas refined grains do not protect against these diseases. How much protection do you get from eating whole grains? According to Len Marquart, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Minnesota, “Epidemiological studies suggest that whole grains reduce risk for coronary heart disease and diabetes by 20 to 30 percent versus refined grains.” Q. Do whole grains help you lose weight? A. Probably, but evidence is still inconclusi