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EDITIONS
Eat whole grain, live longer
bread
Everyone should ditch white bread for whole grain, says survey
A simple bowl of cereal could reduce the risk of two of Britain's leading killers - heart disease and cancer - by a third, a survey suggests.

A new health campaign called Whole Grain for Health (WGFH) shows consumption of whole grain food could save almost 24,000 lives each year in the UK alone.

The problem is most Britons do not know what whole grain food is, do not eat it and are not aware of the significant health benefits.

The campaign launch comes at a time when the government has put coronary heart disease and cancer at the top of its health agenda.

The evidence is compelling that a diet rich in whole grain foods has a protective effect against several forms of cancer and heart disease

Dr Susan Jebb
It aims to cut CHD and cancer deaths by 35% over the next 10 years.

And more than 50 scientific studies have show that eating whole grain can reduce risk of heart disease and cancer by up to 30%

Professor Robert Pickard, director general of the British Nutrition Foundation, said: "Whole grain consumption could have a profound impact on the health of the nation.

"It could certainly help to significantly reduce the incidence of heart disease and cancer and has the potential to save the NHS large sums of money."

Whole grain means all three parts of the grain are used, including the fibre-rich outer layer and the nutrient-packed germ.

Whole Grain for Health survey
70% not aware of whole grain health benefits
54% do not know what whole grain is
77% do not check what ingredients are in foods
72% said would eat more whole grain if knew health benefits
Only 15% eat three servings of whole grain a day - the recommended amount
It was previously thought that whole grain reduced the risk of disease because it was a good source of fibre.

But latest research confirms the whole grain package, including vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates, protects the body against many diseases.

The University of Minnesota, who has published several studies on health benefits of whole grain, said research showed those who ate whole grain products every day had about a 15 to 25% reduction in death from heart disease and cancer.

Dr Susan Jebb, of the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research Centre, said: "The evidence is compelling that a diet rich in whole grain foods has a protective effect against several forms of cancer and heart disease."

Heart disease - the facts
300,000 people die in the UK each year from heart disease and cancer
If people ate just one serving of whole grain a day, deaths would be cut by 8%
An 8% decrease would save around 24,000 lives a year
Ideally, everyone should eat three servings of whole grain food a day
Researchers say everyone should eat three daily servings of bread and cereal containing whole grain.

Emily Bone, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "There is now a clear scientific consensus that cancer is largely preventable, with appropriate diet and lifestyle management playing a key role. Whole grain and minimally refines products should be everyone's first choice."

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28 Jan 00 | Health
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