Booster Shots

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Whole grains and the heart

October 28, 2008 |  2:16 pm

Maybe here's another reason to eat whole grains. In a study of more than 14,000 white and African American adults that's been running since the 1980s, researchers found that those who said they ate the most whole grains had lower rates of heart failure 13 years (on average) later. And those who ate the most eggs and high-fat dairy products had greater heart failure rates.

The scientists, who reported their findings in the November issue of Journal of the American Dietetic Assn., note that the reduced and increased risks weren't huge. Each daily serving of whole grains lowered the heart failure risk by 7%. Each daily serving of egg increased the risk 23%, and each high-fat dairy serving by 8%.  (If risks aren't that high to begin with, even if they're increased they may not amount to a very large absolute risk.)

And, of course, population studies are always muddied to some extent by the fact that you're depending on what people say they eat, and you don't know whether the foodstuff itself is responsible for the risk change or whether it's some other behavior that people who eat whole grains, for example, also tend to do.

-- Rosie Mestel