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Ben Bikman: Whole grains are NOT heart healthy food–according to causal studies

presented in the IIQ Metabolic Classroom, June 15, 2021

The idea that grains & whole grains are healthy is
based almost exclusively on correlational studies…

correlational studies can only find a coincidence
causal or clinical studies can actually find the cause

correlational studies are the kind that:
-hand people a questionnaire
-then look at their health

PURE study (correlational study):
-massive in scope
-multi-country
-18,000 participants
-over past few years

Results: higher grain consumption
predicted higher mortality!

challenges prevailing view about grains

“As basic scientist, I prefer to do intervention studies…
then able to show the cause of the outcomes”

Intervention study, 1987, Gerald Reaven (Stanford Univ)
What does a low fat, high carb diet do to someone
with type 2 diabetes?

This study put people on ADA diet, including:
-whole grains
-low fat
Conclusion after 2 week study of this low fat, high carb
& lots of whole grains (similar to ADA recommendation):

“have deleterious metabolic effects
when consumed by patients
with type 2 diabetes”

Directly challenges the idea that whole grains are
somehow going to “magically give better health”

Another study: randomized, control-group:
comparison of DASH diet and higher fat DASH diet

DASH diet is the most famous heart-healthy diet
DASH=Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

DASH diet has pillars:
-more fruits & vegetables
-low fat foods & whole grains

-1 group on low carb & high fat DASH
and essentially no whole grains

Emphasis:
eat more meat & eggs
& less whole grains

So, these popular markers of blood health & overall
mortality got significantly better in the group that:
-cut whole grain consumption &
-increased saturated fat by eating
more meat & eggs

More causal evidence that challenges the long held
correlational evidence that:
whole grains are “magically healthy foods”

They are not!