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The Nutrition Centre

Expert Warns, Don't Neglect Grains

Visiting Canadian Professor Lillian Thompson, a world- renowned expert on the health properties of food has warned that Australians do not eat enough grain-based foods (such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta) in their diet. Professor Thompson, who has conducted research into the health properties of grains in the diet says that the failure of consumers to eat enough grains increases the risks of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Professor Thompson will discuss these issues and others at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's National Convention, to be held in Canberra on 8 February, 2000.

Amongst the significant health benefits which can be attributed to grain foods are the links between consumption of whole-grain foods and the reduction of some of the twentieth century's most challenging health issues; colon and breast cancer, diabetes and coronary disease.

The US recently approved the health claims for whole grains and oats recognising them as functional foods", that is, foods that provide health benefits beyond normal nutrition", says Professor Thompson. Despite this, the consumer intake of these foods has not increased to the recommended levels and this must be addressed."

Professor Thompson, who has published more than 150 research papers relating to her research discipline, is a member of the Health Canada Scientific Advisory Council which considers the standards of evidence for health claims for foods in Canada.

She is respected around the world for her research into the health effects of phytochemicals and phytic acid found in grain foods in relation to fighting life-threatening diseases.

My studies are designed to provide guidance in the design and development of functional foods which will aid in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease and in the control of diabetes."

Media Release

In her address to the national convention, Professor Thompson will discuss the importance of striking balance between the consumption of whole grains and refined grains in the daily diet.

Acknowledging the nutritional benefits of refined grain products, Professor Thompson emphasised the importance of incorporating whole grains as well as refined grains in the daily diet.  Studies show that eating a diet containing whole grain foods can lower the risk of diseases such as coronary heart disease, but the same effects are not seen with refined products.

Trish Griffiths, Nutrition Services Manager for BRI Australia Ltd and spokesperson for the GO GRAINS nutrition program said Professor Thompson's research makes an extremely important contribution to our understanding of the role of diet in the control of diseases such as cancer and heart disease."

GO GRAINS task is to assist in the dissemination of this information to the general public. Individuals can take an active role in improving their health and maintaining a healthy diet by eating at least 4 serves a day of foods like bread, breakfast cereal and pasta (1 serve is 2 slices of bread, 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta, 1 1/3 cups of breakfast cereal).

- Source: Go Grains





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