With the Whole Grain

Top view of wholegrain and cereal composition shot on rustic wooden table. This type of food is rich of fiber and is ideal for dieting. The composition includes wholegrain sliced bread, wholegrain pasta, oat flakes, flax seed, brown rice, mixed beans, wholegrain crackers and spelt. Predominant color is brown. DSRL studio photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mk II and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Between the gluten sensitivity, low-carb diets, and paleo, grains, in general, have fallen out of favor over the last decade or so. The original U.S. Department of Agriculture guidance published in 1992 made their foundation of the food pyramid, with 6-11 recommended servings per day.  The more recent USDA guidance for MyPlate reduces the servings of grains and advises that half of them should be whole grains.

All-cause mortality studies make a much sharper division between whole grains and refined grains. Refined grains, like white bread, white rice, or refined pasta, are practically the baseline of the developed world diet. Eating more or less refined grains generally doesn’t affect longevity, positively or negatively1.

The longevity benefits of whole grains, in comparison, look unlimited. Each serving (about 1 ounce or 30 grams dry) of whole-grain reduced all-cause mortality by about 8%, and the benefits of whole grains at least up to 8 servings, with little sign of decreasing benefit2.

When going through the details of the various types of food with whole grains, like dark bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, and other grains (bulgar, kasha, and couscous, etc.), they all show a dose-related benefit. There doesn’t seem to be any particular category that was better or worse than the others.

Eat over 100 grams (dry weight) of whole grains, and give your diet a solid foundation for longevity!


  1. Food groups and risk of all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies
  2. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies

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Foods high in animal protein on grey background. Top view

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