Globally, cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, account for more than 19 million deaths yearly, including >3 million in China. As a result, the primary prevention of cardiometabolic diseases is a significant public health initiative. 

There is growing recognition that low consumption of whole grains contributes to cardiometabolic conditions, which result in 3 million deaths and 82 million disability-adjusted life years worldwide.

In a recent study published in Oxford Academic, researchers examined the associations between consuming coarse grains (like millet, corn, etc.) and incident cardiometabolic diseases among Chinese adults.


Over 0.5 million Chinese adults aged 30–79 were enrolled in the prospective China Kadoorie Biobank during 2004–2008 in 10 urban and rural areas.

Based on a validated Food Frequency Question (FFQ), consumption frequencies of 12 major food groups, including coarse grains, were collected at baseline. In 461,047 participants without a prevalence of major chronic diseases at baseline, 17,149 cases of diabetes, 29,876 ischemic strokes, 6097 hemorrhagic strokes, and 6704 severe coronary events were observed after a median of 11 years of follow-up.

The scientists divided participants into four groups based on coarse-grain consumption to retain an adequate number of cases. 

Experts used multiple logistic regression (for binary variables) or linear regression (for continuous variables) to calculate the prevalence and mean values of baseline characteristics in each group of coarse-grain consumption, adjusting for age, gender, and the region as appropriate.

An adjusted risk factor for each disease associated with coarse-grain consumption was calculated using Cox regression analyses.

However, some studies have reported similar findings to this recent study. For example, in a recent study combining data from two US cohort studies involving 2458 cases of ischemic stroke, the consumption of whole-grain, cold cereal, and bran was significantly and inversely related to ischemic stroke, with HRs similar to those observed in the present study.

Results Of The Study

On average, 13.8% of participants regularly consumed coarse grains (i.e., someone who consumes coarse grains at least four days a week), and 29.4% never or rarely consumed coarse grains (i.e., someone who does not consume coarse grains).

There was a lower risk of diabetes and ischemic stroke for regular consumers than for nonconsumers, but not for hemorrhagic strokes or major coronary events.

For diabetes and ischemic stroke, each 100 g/day increase in the usual intake of coarse grains was associated with 14% and 13% lower risks, respectively. This resulted in similar results in various subgroups.


According to this large, prospective study of Chinese adults, higher consumption of coarse grains was associated with a lower risk of diabetes and ischemic stroke. Each 100 g/day increase is related to a 14% and 13% lower risk.

The associations were similar across all ten regions and different subgroups of baseline characteristics. According to the researchers, hemorrhagic strokes, major coronary events, and coarse-grain consumption did not appear to be associated with coarse-grain consumption.

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