New research suggests fiber-rich bran may be a contributor to health benefits of whole grains

New research suggests fiber-rich bran may be a contributor to health benefits of whole grains

New research supported by a grant from Kellogg Company, unveiled at the Experimental Biology conference in Washington, D.C. highlights bran as the major contributor to the health benefits associated with whole grain consumption. 

New research unveiled last week at the Experimental Biology conference in Washington, D.C. highlights bran as the major contributor to the health benefits associated with whole grain consumption.  

The systematic review studies were presented via poster sessions and looked at the main components of whole grains—specifically the bran and fiber—to better understand the impact of each on heart health, type 2 diabetes and body weight.  The bran component is the outer layer of the grain that contains fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, photochemical and minerals like iron, copper, zinc and magnesium.

"We are excited about the results of these studies, which add to the growing body of science that supports the many benefits of bran specifically to the diet," said Nelson Almeida, Ph.D., vice president, global chemistry, nutrition and regulatory science, Kellogg Company. "While increasing consumption of whole grains is important, this research calls out the fiber-rich bran component as potentially the most beneficial part of whole grains."

Comprehensive literature reviews of existing science were conducted to determine what roles whole grains, specifically the fiber-rich bran component, play in reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and managing body weight.  Highlights include:

  • A majority of prospective studies comparing bran, fiber and whole grains with the risk of heart disease showed that bran and fiber intake were more protective than whole grain intake.(1)
  • Bran—particularly its fiber—appears to be a major active component in whole grains that reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, indicating that public health messages surrounding the benefits of whole grain should emphasize the importance of bran.(2)
  • Cereal fiber intake appears to have a more positive association with body weight measures than whole grain intake.  These results show many of the studies that find a link between whole grain intake and body weight are confounded by the inclusion of fiber-rich bran foods in the same category with whole grain foods studied.(3)

Support for Expanded Nutrition Advice on Whole Grain Foods Grows

The new research—supported by a grant from Kellogg Company—demonstrates the importance of fiber-rich bran to the diets of Americans, advice that is echoed by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which calls attention to fiber as a shortfall "nutrient of concern." In fact, the technical report of the Dietary Guidelines highlights fiber's compelling association with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, as well as fiber's role in satiety (a feeling of fullness), which is integral to weight management.

"It seems there is sometimes a disconnection between advice to consume more whole grain foods—a laudable goal—and the need to emphasize getting enough fiber, which is found in the bran component of whole grains," said Almeida. "Encouraging people to check the fiber content of their whole grain food choices to ensure they are getting at least 3 grams of fiber per serving is a good next step to help ensure Americans are getting the fiber they need."

Kellogg, as the breakfast leader, has long understood the important role fiber plays in overall health and is committed to helping Americans increase the fiber in their diet through foods they already eat and enjoy. In fact, Kellogg offers more ready-to-eat cereals, like Kellogg's Raisin Bran® and Frosted Mini-Wheats®, which provide at least a good source of fiber and 8 grams of whole grains than any other U.S. food company.(4)

For more information on the Kellogg Company's efforts to increase fiber in foods that consumers are already eating and enjoying, please visit www.KelloggsNutrition.com.

About Kellogg Company

For more than 100 years, consumers have counted on Kellogg for great-tasting, high quality and nutritious foods. Kellogg Company, with 2010 sales of more than $12 billion, is the world's leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods. Kellogg Company's beloved brands, which are manufactured in 18 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries, include Kellogg's®, Keebler®, Pop-Tarts®, Eggo®, Cheez-It®, All-Bran®, Mini-Wheats®, Nutri-Grain®, Rice Krispies®, Special K®, Chips Deluxe®, Famous Amos®, Sandies®, Austin®, Club®, Murray®, Kashi®, Bear Naked®, Morningstar Farms®, Gardenburger® and Stretch Island®. For more information on the Kellogg Company, including our corporate responsibility initiatives, visit www.kelloggcompany.com.

(1) A comparison of literature on the association between intakes of bran, cereal fiber, and whole grains and risk and biomarkers of heart disease. Lu Qi, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Susan Cho, NutraSource, Clarksville, MD; George Fahey, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; In S Kim, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD; David Klurfeld, USDA ARS, Beltsville, MD.

(2) A comparison of literature on the impact of bran, cereal fiber and whole grain intakes and risk reduction of type 2 diabetes. Susan S Cho, NutraSource, Clarksville, MD; Lu Qi, Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; George Fahey, Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; In S Kim, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, Hyattsville, MD; David Klurfeld, USDA ARS, Beltsville, MD.

(3) A comparison of the literature on the association between intakes of bran, cereal fiber and whole grains and risk of adiposity measures. George C Fahey, Jr., Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; Susan S Cho, NutraSource, Clarksville, MD;  Lu Qi, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; In S Kim, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD;  David M Klurfeld, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD.

(4) Based on a Kellogg audit of national breakfast cereals in September 2010. The data was drawn from label, website and a syndicated database and includes nationally distributed ready-to-eat cereals from Kellogg, General Mills, Post, Quaker and Malt-O-Meal.

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