New research presented at the American College of Cardiology Middle East 2022 Together With 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress has linked the consumption of refined grains to an increased risk of developing premature coronary artery disease, one of the most common forms of heart disease in the US. Higher consumption of whole grains was associated with lower risk of developing premature coronary artery disease.
The study included over 2,500 people in Iran who were divided into a control group and a case group. The control group included people with normal coronary arteries, while the case group included people who had coronary artery obstruction and who had been diagnosed with premature coronary artery disease, defined as coronary artery disease in males under 55 years old and females under 65 years old. The participants were given a food frequency questionnaire to determine their dietary patterns and frequency of consuming refined and whole grains. Those who consumed more refined grains had a higher risk of premature coronary artery disease, while those who consumed more whole grains had a lower risk.
The study’s lead author pointed out that consumption of refined grains is increasing globally, partially because refined grains can be cheaper and easier to obtain. Whole grains contain the entire grain and typically have more nutrients and fiber, whereas refined grains have been mechanically modified to only contain part of the grain. Refined grains have a longer shelf life, but they are also missing many of the nutrients found in whole grains. To prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and related issues, the AHA recommends a diet low in refined grains and high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish.