Effect of increased consumption of whole-grain foods on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk markers in healthy middle-aged persons: a randomized controlled trial

Paula Tighe, Garry G Duthie, Nicholas Vaughan, Julie Brittenden, William G Simpson, Susan J Duthie, William J Mutch, Klaus Wahle, Graham Horgan, Frank Thies (Corresponding Author)

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188 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Three daily portions of whole-grain foods could lower cardiovascular disease risk, but a comprehensive intervention trial was needed to confirm this recommendation.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the effects of consumption of 3 daily portions of whole-grain foods (provided as only wheat or a mixture of wheat and oats) on markers of cardiovascular disease risk in relatively high-risk individuals.

Design: This was a randomized controlled dietary trial in middle-aged healthy individuals. After a 4-wk run-in period with a refined diet, we randomly allocated volunteers to a control (refined diet), wheat, or wheat + oats group for 12 wk. The primary outcome was a reduction of cardiovascular disease risk factors by dietary intervention with whole grains, which included lipid and inflammatory marker concentrations, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure.

Results: We recruited a total of 233 volunteers; 24 volunteers withdrew, and 3 volunteers were excluded. Systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were significantly reduced by 6 and 3 mm Hg, respectively, in the whole-grain foods groups compared with the control group. Systemic markers of cardiovascular disease risk remained unchanged apart from cholesterol concentrations, which decreased slightly but significantly in the refined group.

Conclusions: Daily consumption of 3 portions of whole-grain foods can significantly reduce cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged people mainly through blood pressure lowering mechanisms. The observed decrease in systolic blood pressure could decrease the incidence of coronary artery disease and stroke by >= 15% and 25%, respectively. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as ISRCTN27657880. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;92:733-40.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-740
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online date4 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010



  • ischemic-heart-disease
  • dietary fiber intake
  • c-reactive protein
  • oat beta-glucan
  • hypercholesterolemic adults
  • insulin-resistance
  • women
  • metaanalysis
  • cholesterol
  • lipids
  • intervention study
  • blood pressure
  • CVD risk
  • whole grain

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