Studies have consistently shown the health benefits of eating whole-grain foods. They’re excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates. When a grain is refined, many nutrients are removed, including much of the fiber. So white flour, white rice, and white bread, for example, are considered less healthful than whole grains. But a new review of studies published between 2000 and 2010 found no links between moderate intakes of refined grains and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, or overall mortality.
“Consumption of up to 50 percent of all grain foods as refined-grain foods (without high levels of added fat, sugar, or sodium) is not associated with any increased disease risk,” wrote nutritionist Peter G. Williams, PhD, who conducted the review. “Nonetheless, eating more whole-grain foods remains an important health recommendation, and most consumers will need to reduce their current consumption of refined grains to no more than one-third to one-half of all grains in order to meet the targets for whole-grain foods.” The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of the grains you eat be whole grains.