Paediatric dietitian Maeve Hanan has written a report in the Network Health Digest extolling the benefits of wholegrains on weight management.

  1. “High in starchy carbohydrates and low in fat, wholegrains have a relatively low calorie content, so displacing higher calorie food may be one reason why a diet high in wholegrains may be beneficial for weight management.
  2. “Wholegrains generally have a low glycaemic index (GI), they slowly release carbohydrate into the blood and stabilise blood glucose levels; this, coupled with the high fibre content, is thought to promote satiety, control appetite and reduce urges for snacking.
  3. “Last year’s Nurses’ Health Study found that women who consumed a high intake of wholegrains consistently weighed less than those with lower wholegrain intakes.
  4. “Also last year, a study in the US found ‘greater wholegrain consumption [was] associated with better intakes of nutrients and healthier body weight in children and adults’. Similar findings have been reported in the UK.”

Hanan also noted in the report that, in the UK and US, to be classified as wholegrain, a product must contain 51% wholegrain ingredients, while in Germany wholegrain bread must contain 90% wholegrain ingredients.

She suggested: “Ongoing health promotion related to wholegrains is needed in the UK, such as advising the replacement of refined starchy carbohydrates with wholegrain versions.”

Although there are no UK guidelines for daily wholegrain intake, the government’s recent Eatwell Guide recommends basing meals on starchy carbohydrates choosing “wholegrain versions where possible”.