On June 15th, the research scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Saara Pentikäinen, defended her thesis regarding the impact of cereal food structure on the first steps of digestion and on satiety. It was shown that the impacts of the structure of cereal foods on satiety are transmitted through both sensory perception and physiological processes. These aspects should be taken into account when developing pleasant and healthy food products. Read more at the VTT homepage.

The thesis is available here.

One of the included articles, Mastication-induced release of compounds from rye and wheat breads to saliva, may be found here. Among other things, the study reveals that early mastication releases compounds that may act as signal molecules in further digestion, and that peptides, amino acids and sugars differentiated rye and wheat bread.

Photo provided from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, and the number of cancer cases increases - yet around 40 percent is preventable. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) previously presented an updated report on diet, nutrition, physical activity and colorectal cancer. This was the first time that whole grain foods were independently linked to a lower colorectal cancer risk in the WCRF/AICR report.

Now WCRF and AICR presents a report for all types of cancer, The Third Expert Report 'Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective. The report brings together the very latest research in the area and reviews decades of evidence about how diet and exercise affects cancer risk. The report presents "the most reliable cancer prevention advice currently available".

Several food groups were associated with a 'limited suggestive decreased risk' of different cancers. Whole grains and foods containing dietary fibre were among only few other food groups considered to be associated with a 'probable decreased risk' (of colorectal cancer for wholegrains/fibre) - the second strongest grading possible. Read more in the infografic matrix 'Summary of conclusions'.

A high intake of whole grain foods has been associated with lowered risk of developing chronic life-style related diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. However, studies evaluating diet-health relationships generally suffer from limited accuracy of self-reported dietary intakes in observational studies, or lack of compliance, to the study diet in intervention studies. This makes it difficult to capture the whole grain intake properly. In turn, the evaluation of the relationship between whole grain foods and health may suffer from lack of accuracy or bias, which may mask true relationships between whole grain and health outcomes.

Alkylresorcinols as a biomarker of whole grain intake

Biomarkers may be used to overcome the problems and provide a more accurate ranking tool. Alkylresorcinols is a group of compounds mainly present in the bran of wheat and rye, and may therefore be used to objectively estimate the whole grain intake. Total plasma concentrations of alkylresorcinols have previously been shown to correlate in a dose dependent manner with total whole grain wheat and rye intake. In addition, the ratio of two specific alkylresorcinols reflects the relative intake of whole grain wheat to whole grain rye.

Plasma alkylresorcinols and type 2 diabetes

The association between alkylresorcinol concentrations in plasma and the risk of type 2 diabetes was recently evaluated in a Chinese study. The findings suggested that higher concentrations were related to lower odds of developing diabetes. Read more here.

Alkylresorcinols in urine as a biomarker?

As an alternative to alkylresorcinol concentrations in plasma as a biomarker for whole grain intake, the concentrations of their two main metabolites in urine samples collected during 24 hours have previously been suggested. To evaluate if also single urine samples along with determination of some new alkylresorcinol metabolites may be used, Landberg and coworkers performed a study among 40 Swedish subjects. The results showed about the same performance as for intact alkylresorcinols in plasma Read more here.

Alkylresorcinols in adipose tissue as a long-term biomarker?

To find out if alkylresorcinols may act as long-term biomarkers of whole grain rye and wheat intake, adipose tissue concentrations were analyzed in 258 Swedish men and women. The results were promising for whole grain rye; although less so for wheat, probably due to poor precision in estimating the whole grain intake. Read more here.