Health

Too much white bread and pasta could increase the risk of heart disease

Too much white bread and pasta in your diet could increase the risk of heart disease, research suggests

  • White bread, certain cereals and pasta may raise risk of heart disease, study says
  • Study of 137,000 people finds refined grains raise heart attack and stroke risk
  • The potential risk to cardiovascular health did not apply with white rice, it found  

Eating lots of white bread, refined cereals and pasta is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, a study says.

Those who eat refined grains – processed to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life – are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who eat whole grains.

These refined products are regularly found in white bread, cereals, desserts and pastries.

Food with refined grain, such as white bread, cereal and pasta, has been linked to a heightened risk of heart attacks and stroke, according to a study of 137,000 people worldwide 

And experts have now highlighted the damage they could be doing to the heart.

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada studied 137,000 people from across the world.

They collected information on participants’ lifestyle and medical history at the start of the study and food questionnaires were used to assess their intake of refined grains, whole grains and white rice.

Individuals classed as those with a high intake of refined grains ate at least 350g a day – almost a whole standard load of white bread. Whereas those classed with the lowest intake ate less than 50g per day – around one-and-a-half slices.

Deaths from cardiovascular events including heart attack, stroke and heart failure were then tracked over an average of nine years.

Results, published in the British Medical Journal, found the highest category of intake was associated with a 33 per cent higher risk of serious cardiovascular events compared to the lowest intake.

Higher intake was also associated with higher blood pressure.

While white rice is considered a refined grain, researchers at McMaster University in Canada found no association between intake and cardiovascular disease

While white rice is considered a refined grain, researchers at McMaster University in Canada found no association between intake and cardiovascular disease

Although white rice is considered a refined grain, they found no association between intake and cardiovascular disease and suggest some varieties of white rice may have a nutritional advantage over other refined grain products.

The researchers suggest that a lower intake of refined products should be encouraged while promoting a higher intake of whole grains.

They wrote: ‘Reduction in quantity and improvement in quality of carbohydrate is essential for better health outcomes.’

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