whole grains

  1. Whole grains aren’t as healthy as advertised

    EXPOSED: Whole grains AREN'T healthy!

    Don't be a chicken!

    You don't act like a chicken. At least, you don't THINK you act like a chicken... but there's a good chance you share at least one habit with the old yardbird.

    Odds are, both of you are eating whole grains.

    Those are the backbone -- or maybe the wishbone -- of a chicken's diet, as they're what you'll find in any decent chickenfeed (at least if the chicken is being fed the "good" stuff).

    But if you've been eating whole grains under the assumption that they're good for you, I've got a new study you need to see.

    Researchers pecked through decades of data on grains and the effect they have on human health.

    They were stunned to find that the evidence backing whole grains for human health amounted to... well... chickenfeed.

    They found that the mainstream advice to eat whole grains is based on assumptions, not science.

    Few studies have looked at the health benefits of whole grains in any kind of carefully controlled way.

    The handful that made the attempt didn't last very long. None of them ran more than four months, which is nothing when it comes to looking at long-terms risks such as heart disease.

    Once they crunched through all the science, the researchers found that there may not be much of a difference in risk at all whether you have whole grains or any other kind of grain, including refined and processed grains.

    That doesn't mean you should give up and eat refined grains.

    It does mean that "whole grains" are vastly overrated. My strong suspicion is that any benefits linked to whole grains in some studies aren't even from the grains themselves.

    They're from fiber -- and, when it comes down to it, whole grains really aren't the best sources of that fiber.

    Besides, whole grains cause blood sugar spikes and even weight gain -- which is fine for a chicken. You want them plump, after all.

    But that's certainly not what you want for yourself.

    So, skip the breads and pass on the cereals. Whole grains or not, they're just not that good for you.

    If you want proven heart protection and a wide range of other health benefits, aim for between 40 and 50 grams of fiber a day, mostly from fresh produce such as broccoli, peas, apples, avocados, and pears.

    One of the best sources of fiber is beans -- and they're great this time of year in vegetarian stews and chili.

  2. Common cereals are more than 40 percent sugar

    Instead of changing your own habits here in 2012, make one change for someone else: your kids.

    Stop giving them cereal.

    Even the healthiest cereals are usually just a blend of different kinds of carbs: sugar and some of the worst grains imaginable (and don't believe those "made with whole grains" labels -- because that doesn't make this stuff any healthier).

    Some cereals are more than half sugar.

    Environmental Working Group recently took a closer look at the ingredients labels of some of the most common and popular cereals and found that both Kellogg's Honey Smacks and Post Golden Crisp are more than half sugar by weight -- 55.6 percent and 51.9 percent, respectively.

    Number three was almost there -- Kellogg's Froot Loops Marshmallow is 48.3 percent sugar.

    Froot Loops by itself was already heavy in sugar (41.4 percent, coming in at number 10) -- but when they added the marshmallows, they went for the record… and actually fell just a little short.

    Better luck next time, Team Froot Loop.

    And the Quaker Oats man, who's supposed to represent old-fashioned purity? He's actually responsible for FOUR of the top ten most sugar-soaked cereals: three flavors of Cap'n Crunch and something called Oh!s, which appear to be sugar-coated Cheerios.

    You can see the full report here, which also features some helpful comparisons -- like the fact that those Honey Smacks contain more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.

    Even the healthy-sounding Wheaties Fuel -- breakfast of champions, but with "fuel," right? -- has more sugar than that Twinkie.

    And a single cup of Honey Nut Cheerios has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.

    When a Twinkie or Chips Ahoy cookies turn out to be the better choice, you know you created something special.

    EWG has some alternatives for parents looking for better options -- like unfrosted Mini Wheats and original Kix, which I think refers to the kicking and screaming kids do when they find out their Honey Smacks have been replaced by a "healthier" option.

    In reality, cereal in general isn't a healthy option for breakfast. If you're in charge of mornings in your house, cook up something fresh each day instead -- make it something all of you can eat together, and everybody wins.

  3. Meat & fried food: the secret to a long life

    Diet advice usually comes with a whole lot of don'ts: Don't eat this, and don't drink that. So let me add one more "don't" to the list: Don't listen to all that mainstream nonsense... because you don't have to give up your favorite foods to live long, and a new study proves it.
  4. A tasty way to lower BP

    It sounds too delicious to be true: You can beat hypertension and even eliminate blood pressure drugs by simply enjoying a little oatmeal every day. But it is true--because a new study confirms again that the healthiest whole grains can dramatically lower your blood pressure levels. Scottish researchers randomly assigned more than 233 volunteers to eat three servings a day...

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