As Food Navigator-USA puts it, “No, wheat does not make people fat and sick.”
Bread lover that I am, I consider recent research to be giving us good news.
Food Navigator is referring to a review of research on whole wheat and health just published in the Journal of Cereal Science of all places. The authors conclude that unless you have celiac disease or wheat allergies, eating whole-wheat foods is good for you.
In fact, foods containing whole-wheat, which have been prepared in customary ways (such as baked or extruded), and eaten in recommended amounts, have been associated with significant reductions in risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a more favourable long term weight management. Nevertheless, individuals that have a genetic predisposition for developing celiac disease, or who are sensitive or allergic to wheat proteins, will benefit from avoiding wheat and other cereals that contain proteins related to gluten, including primitive wheat species (einkorn, emmer, spelt) and varieties, rye and barley…Based on the available evidence, we conclude that whole-wheat consumption cannot be linked to increased prevalence of obesity in the general population.
The authors find little evidence in support of popular myths:
- Proliferation of wheat products parallels obesity and is causally related. No, it does not.
- Wheat starch differs from starches in other foods in especially undesirable ways. No, it does not.
- Whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than sugar. No, it does not.
- Wheat contains opioids that make people addictive. No, they do not.
In the meantime, the FDA has been working on updating its 2006 guidance to industry about how to label statements about whole grains. The agency has been conducting research on how consumers judge:
- Food products, including nutritional attributes, overall healthiness, and health benefits.
- Labeling statements in terms of their credibility, helpfulness, and other attributes.
- Terms and statements such as “Made with Whole Grain”, “Multi-Grain”, and “100% Whole Wheat.”
- Whole grain statements beyond the scope of the statements themselves (i.e., halo effects).
- How whole grain statements influence consumer use of the Nutrition Facts.
Can’t wait to see the results. They ought to be out soon.