Special Issue "Whole Grains and Human Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 July 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Iain A. Brownlee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CSIRO Nutrition & Health Program, SAHMRI Building, North Terrace, Adelaide SA5000, Australia
Interests: whole grains; dietary fibre; gastrointestinal physiology; human intervention studies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Chris Seal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Newcastle University, United Kingdom, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Interests: diet and health; whole grains; dietary fibre; cereal foods; human intervention studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current evidence base highlights the importance of inclusion of whole-grain foods as part of healthy dietary template in order to reduce the risk of many non-communicable diseases. However, dietary data from many countries around the world suggest that most people are not consuming whole grains to a level that might benefit health. The evidence supporting specific health benefits of certain types of whole grains is more compelling than that for others.

The current Special Issue aims to bring together recent reviews and cutting-edge original papers in the field to address current gaps in the evidence base. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies evaluating the putative mechanistic actions of whole grains.
  • Acute or long-term studies evaluating the impact of whole grain consumption on markers of health.
  • Novel evidence from population-based studies on the association of whole grain intake with health.
  • Systematic reviews or meta-analyses that consider the evidence base linking whole grains to health or disease.
  • Review articles or position papers in new areas of whole grain-related research.

Dr. Iain Brownlee
Prof. Chris Seal
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Whole grains
  • Wholegrain foods
  • Wholemeal
  • Wholewheat
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Pseudo grains
  • Grain bioactives
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic health
  • Weight management

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Glucose-Lowering Effect of Foxtail Millet in Subjects with Impaired Glucose Tolerance: A Self-Controlled Clinical Trial
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1509; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101509 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Foxtail millet has relatively low starch digestibility and moderate glycemic index compared to other grains. Since there are still no clinical researches regarding its long-term effect on blood glucose, this self-controlled study was conducted to investigate the glucose-lowering effect of foxtail millet in [...] Read more.
Foxtail millet has relatively low starch digestibility and moderate glycemic index compared to other grains. Since there are still no clinical researches regarding its long-term effect on blood glucose, this self-controlled study was conducted to investigate the glucose-lowering effect of foxtail millet in free-living subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Fifty g/day of foxtail millet was provided to enrolled subjects throughout 12 weeks and the related clinical parameters were investigated at week 0, 6 and 12, respectively. After 12 weeks of foxtail millet intervention, the mean fasting blood glucose of the subjects decreased from 5.7 ± 0.9 mmol/L to 5.3 ± 0.7 mmol/L (p < 0.001) and the mean 2 h-glucose decreased from 10.2 ± 2.6 mmol/L to 9.4 ± 2.3 mmol/L (p = 0.003). The intake of foxtail millet caused a significant increase of serum leptin (p = 0.012), decrease of insulin resistance (p = 0.007), and marginal reduction of inflammation. Furthermore, a sex-dependent difference in glucose-lowering effect of foxtail millet was observed in this study. Foxtail millet could improve the glycemic control in free-living subjects with IGT, suggesting that increasing the consumption of foxtail millet might be beneficial to individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
An Audit of Australian Bread with a Focus on Loaf Breads and Whole Grain
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081106 - 16 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Bread is a vehicle for a range of nutrients within the Australian diet, but has been the target of negative press. The aim of this study was to examine bread products, particularly white, whole grain and gluten-free loaves, including nutrients, health claims and [...] Read more.
Bread is a vehicle for a range of nutrients within the Australian diet, but has been the target of negative press. The aim of this study was to examine bread products, particularly white, whole grain and gluten-free loaves, including nutrients, health claims and Health Star Rating (HSR). An audit of four supermarkets and a bakery franchise (2017) was compared with 2014 data. Median and range was calculated for whole grain content, dietary fibre, sodium, protein, carbohydrate and sugar. Of all breads (n = 456), 29% were eligible to make a whole grain claim with 27% very high in whole grain (≥24 g/serve), an 18% increase from 2014. Within loaves (n = 243), 40% were at least a source of whole grain (≥8 g/serve), 79% were at least a source of dietary fibre, 54% met the sodium reformulation target (≤400 mg/100 g), 78% were a ‘source’ and 20% were a ‘good source’ of protein (10 g/serve), and 97% were low in sugar. Despite significant differences between loaves for all nutrients assessed, HSR did not differ between white and whole grain varieties. Compared to 2014, there were 20 fewer white loaves and 20 additional whole grain loaves which may assist more Australians achieve the 48 g whole grain daily target intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Whole Grain Intervention Study Designs and Reporting Practices Using Evidence Mapping Methodology
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081052 - 09 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Consumption of whole grains have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases in many observational studies; yet, results of intervention studies are mixed. We aimed to use evidence mapping to capture the methodological and reporting variability in whole grain intervention studies that [...] Read more.
Consumption of whole grains have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases in many observational studies; yet, results of intervention studies are mixed. We aimed to use evidence mapping to capture the methodological and reporting variability in whole grain intervention studies that may contribute to this inconsistency. We conducted a reproducible search in OVID Medline for whole grain human intervention studies (published 1946 to February 2018). After screening based on a priori criteria, we identified 202 publications describing a total of 213 unique trials. Over half (55%) were acute trials, lasting ≤1 day, 30% were moderate duration studies (up to 6 weeks) and 15% were of longer duration (more than 6 weeks). The majority of acute trials (75%) examined measures of glycaemia and/or insulinemia, while most of the longer trials included measures of cardiometabolic health (71%), appetite/satiety (57%) and weight/adiposity (56%). Among the moderate and long duration trials, there was a wide range of how whole grains were described but only 10 publications referenced an established definition. Only 55% of trials reported the actual amount of whole grains (in grams or servings), while 36% reported the amount of food/product and 9% did not report a dose at all. Of the interventions that provided a mixture of whole grains, less than half (46%) reported the distribution of the different grain types. Reporting of subject compliance also varied and only 22% used independent biomarkers of whole grain intake. This evidence map highlights the need to standardize both study protocols and reporting practices to support effective synthesis of study results and provide a stronger foundation to better inform nutrition scientists and public health policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) Consumption on Markers of CVD Risk
Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060777 - 16 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
A number of epidemiological studies have suggested that diets rich in whole grains are linked to lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and mortality. Quinoa, a pseudo-cereal, is included in the “whole grain” category but the effects of quinoa consumption in humans is not [...] Read more.
A number of epidemiological studies have suggested that diets rich in whole grains are linked to lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and mortality. Quinoa, a pseudo-cereal, is included in the “whole grain” category but the effects of quinoa consumption in humans is not widely studied. Our aim was to undertake a dietary intervention study to investigate the effects of daily consumption of quinoa-enriched bread (providing 20 g quinoa flour) on CVD risk markers compared with a 100% refined wheat bread control. Thirty-seven healthy overweight men (35–70 years, body mass index >25 kg/m2) completed a 4-week cross-over intervention, separated by a 4-week washout period. Fasting blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of each intervention period. Continuous glucose monitoring was undertaken at the end of each intervention period. After 4 weeks of intervention, blood glucose and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were significantly lower than baseline in both groups but there was no difference between quinoa and control. Anthropometric measures and other blood metabolites were not different between the two treatments. The cumulative area under the blood glucose curve for the last 4 days of the quinoa intervention tended to be lower than the first 4 days of wash-out (p = 0.054), and was significantly lower than the corresponding period of the wheat treatment (p = 0.039). In conclusion, daily consumption of quinoa in this short-term intervention appears to modify glucose response, but has minimal effects on other CVD risk biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
An Overview of Whole Grain Regulations, Recommendations and Research across Southeast Asia
Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060752 - 11 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a diverse region that is experiencing economic growth and increased non-communicable disease burden. This paper aims to evaluate the current regulations, dietary recommendations and research related to whole grains in this region. To do this, [...] Read more.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a diverse region that is experiencing economic growth and increased non-communicable disease burden. This paper aims to evaluate the current regulations, dietary recommendations and research related to whole grains in this region. To do this, a systematic literature review was carried out and information was collected on regulations and dietary recommendations from each member state. The majority of publications on whole grains from the region (99 of 147) were in the area of food science and technology, with few observational studies (n = 13) and human intervention studies (n = 10) related to whole grains being apparent. Information from six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) was available. Wholegrain food-labelling regulations were only noted in Malaysia and Singapore. Public health recommendation related to whole grains were apparent in four countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore), while recent intake data from whole grains was only apparent from Malaysia, The Philippines and Singapore. In all cases, consumption of whole grains appeared to be very low. These findings highlight a need for further monitoring of dietary intake in the region and further strategies targeted at increasing the intake of whole grains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Infant Cereals: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Opportunities for Whole Grains
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020473 - 23 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Infant cereals play an important role in the complementary feeding period. The aim of this study was to review existing research about the quantity, type, and degree of infant cereal processing, with a special focus on whole grain infant cereals. Accumulating evidence shows [...] Read more.
Infant cereals play an important role in the complementary feeding period. The aim of this study was to review existing research about the quantity, type, and degree of infant cereal processing, with a special focus on whole grain infant cereals. Accumulating evidence shows many benefits of whole grain consumption for human health. Likewise, consumers are frequently linking the term whole grains to healthiness and naturality, and sustainable food production becomes a more important aspect when choosing an infant cereal brand. Whole grain cereals should be consumed as early as possible, i.e., during infancy. However, there are several challenges that food manufacturers are facing that need to be addressed. Recommendations are needed for the intake of whole grain cereals for infants and young children, including product-labeling guidelines for whole grain foods targeting these age stages. Another challenge is minimizing the higher contaminant content in whole grains, as well as those formed during processing. Yet, the greatest challenge may be to drive consumers’ acceptance, including taste. The complementary feeding period is absolutely key in shaping the infant’s food preferences and habits; therefore, it is the appropriate stage in life at which to introduce whole grain cereals for the acceptance of whole grains across the entire lifespan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Wholegrain Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Evidence from Epidemiological and Intervention Studies
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1288; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091288 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most common metabolic diseases and represents a leading cause of morbidity and mortality because of its related complications. The alarming rise in T2DM prevalence worldwide poses enormous challenges in relation to its social, economic, [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most common metabolic diseases and represents a leading cause of morbidity and mortality because of its related complications. The alarming rise in T2DM prevalence worldwide poses enormous challenges in relation to its social, economic, and a clinical burden requiring appropriate preventive strategies. Currently, lifestyle modifications—including approaches to promote a moderate body weight reduction and to increase regular physical exercise—are the first crucial intervention for T2DM prevention. In the light of the difficulty in reducing body weight and in long-term maintenance of weight loss, quality changes in dietary patterns—in terms of macro and micronutrient composition—can also strongly affect the development of T2DM. This may provide a more practical and suitable preventative approach than simply implementing caloric restriction. Along this line, there is increasing evidence that wholegrain consumption in substitution of refined grains is associated with a reduction of the incidence of several non-communicable chronic diseases. The aim of the present review is to summarize the current evidence from observational and randomized controlled clinical trials on the benefits of wholegrain on T2DM prevention and treatment. Plausible mechanisms by which wholegrain could act on glucose homeostasis and T2DM prevention are also evaluated. Altogether, the totality of the available evidence supports present dietary recommendations promoting wholegrain foods for the prevention and treatment of T2DM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Contaminants in Grain—A Major Risk for Whole Grain Safety?
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091213 - 02 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Grains are the main energy and carbohydrate sources for human nutrition globally. Governmental and non-governmental authorities recommend whole grains as a healthy food choice. The role of contaminants in (whole) grains and how to mitigate any potential risk following their consumption has not [...] Read more.
Grains are the main energy and carbohydrate sources for human nutrition globally. Governmental and non-governmental authorities recommend whole grains as a healthy food choice. The role of contaminants in (whole) grains and how to mitigate any potential risk following their consumption has not been reported. With this narrative review, we shed light on the potential human health risk from contaminants in whole grains and elaborate strategies to mitigate such risk. We found that grains represent a significant source of food-borne contaminants, the main ones being; mycotoxins including (A) aflatoxin B1; (B) ochratoxin A; (C) fumonisin B1; (D) deoxynivalenol; (E) zearalenone; toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead; as well as process contaminants such as acrylamide. Whole grains usually contain more contaminants than refined products. However, whole grains also provide more nutrients that may reduce the impact of these contaminants. Strict regulatory thresholds aim to minimize the risk of contaminants to public health. The consumer can further impact on the mitigation of any risk by eating a healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains and probiotics. The risk posed by contaminants from whole grains do not outweigh the known nutritional benefits of whole grain consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Buckwheat and CVD Risk Markers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2018, 10(5), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10050619 - 15 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The effects of buckwheat intake on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have not been systematically investigated. The aim of the present study was to comprehensively summarize studies in humans and animals, evaluating the impact of buckwheat consumption on CVD risk markers and to conduct a [...] Read more.
The effects of buckwheat intake on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have not been systematically investigated. The aim of the present study was to comprehensively summarize studies in humans and animals, evaluating the impact of buckwheat consumption on CVD risk markers and to conduct a meta-analysis of relevant data. Thirteen randomized, controlled human studies, two cross-sectional human studies and twenty-one animal studies were identified. Using random-effects models, the weighted mean difference of post-intervention concentrations of blood glucose, total cholesterol and triglycerides were significantly decreased following buckwheat intervention compared with controls [differences in blood glucose: −0.85 mmol/L (95% CI: −1.31, −0.39), total cholesterol: 0.50 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.80, −0.20) and triglycerides: 0.25 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.49, −0.02)]. Responses of a similar magnitude were seen in two cross-sectional studies. For animal studies, nineteen of twenty-one studies showed a significant reduction in total cholesterol of between 12% and 54%, and fourteen of twenty studies showed a significant reduction in triglycerides of between 2% and 74%. All exhibited high unexplained heterogeneity. There was inconsistency in HDL cholesterol outcomes in both human and animal studies. It remains unclear whether increased buckwheat intake significantly benefits other markers of CVD risk, such as weight, blood pressure, insulin, and LDL-cholesterol, and underlying mechanisms responsible for any effects are unclear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Whole Grains and Human Health)
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