In 2016, researchers at Harvard found that for every serving of whole-grain eaten, there was a 9% drop in death from cardiovascular disease and a 5% drop in the chance of dying from cancer. The research first published in the American Heart Association Journal also stated that those eating 48g of wholegrain recorded a 25% lower risk of cardiovascular death and a 14% reduced chance of dying from cancer.
In this article, we take a look at what makes Weetabix so healthy and why you should switch to a healthy serving as soon as possible.
Whole grains vs. refined grains
Whole grains, as the name suggests contain the entire grain from the plant, the bran, germ and endosperm, whereas refined grains have been milled (ground into flour) which removes the bran and germ. Crucially, this milling strips the grain of important nutrients such as B-vitamins, iron and dietary fibre, but gives products a longer shelflife and a finer texture.
Why are whole grains good for us?
When it comes to your health, there are multiple reasons why whole grains are better for you over refined including:
- Most whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fibre - most refined grains contain little if any fibre.
- Dietary fibre can help boost blood cholesterol levels - you lower your heart disease, stroke and obesity risk, you even cut your type 2 diabetes risk by eating plenty of fibre!
- Fibre can help you lose weight - when you eat fibre you feel more full and therefore require fewer calories to feel satisfied.
- Grains provide other essential nutrients - such as Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitimum B2 (riboflavin), Vitimum B3 (niacin), Vitimum B9 (folate), magnesium, selenium, iron and more. All of these are important to bodily functions such as forming cells, transporting oxygen and regulating your thyroid.
So what are whole grain foods?
Weetabix is just one of many whole-grain foods, here are some other commons ones:
- Wild rice
- Whole wheat
- Whole oats
- Brown rice
- Whole grain corn
- Whole grain barley
How much should you be eating?
The Whole Grains Council references several studies conducted in the last decade that adults should be eating at least half of their frains as whole grain, that's at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains every day, with children even needing 2 to 3 servings.
While in the UK we don't currently have a government-recommended amount of whole grains to consume per day, Public Health England does recommend that people should consume 30g of fibre per day from fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.
Back to Weetabix
Returning to the cereal in question, let's take a look at the nutritional stats of this breakfast of champions. Firstly, every recommended serving of two biscuits contains only 136 calories, so already we're starting to see why Weetabix is a plus if you favour a healthy lifestyle.
When 150ml of semi-skimmed milk is added, it rises to around 205 calories, which fits well within the guidelines issued by Public Health England in 2018. Those guidelines suggested that people should consume around 400 calories at breakfast, 600 for lunch and the same for dinner, with a couple of healthy snacks and drinks permitted too.