The Effects of Moderate Whole Grain Consumption on Fasting Glucose and Lipids, Gastrointestinal Symptoms, and Microbiota

Nutrients. 2017 Feb 21;9(2):173. doi: 10.3390/nu9020173.


This study was designed to determine if providing wheat, corn, and rice as whole (WG) or refined grains (RG) under free-living conditions will change parameters of health over a six-week intervention in healthy, habitual non-WG consumers. Measurements of body composition, fecal microbiota, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides were made at baseline and post intervention. Subjects were given adequate servings of either WG or RG products based on their caloric need and asked to keep records of grain consumption, bowel movements, and GI symptoms weekly. After six weeks, subjects repeated baseline testing. Significant decreases in total, LDL, and non-HDL cholesterol were seen after the WG treatments but were not observed in the RG treatment. During Week 6, bowel movement frequency increased with increased WG consumption. No significant differences in microbiota were seen between baseline and post intervention, although, abundance of order Erysipelotrichales increased in RG subjects who ate more than 50% of the RG market basket products. Increasing consumption of WGs can alter parameters of health, but more research is needed to better elucidate the relationship between the amount consumed and the health-related outcome.

Keywords: bowel movement frequency; brown rice; fasting blood lipids; fasting glucose; gastrointestinal symptoms; maize; microbiota; whole grains; whole wheat.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Composition
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Defecation
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diet*
  • Fasting
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Handling
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Oryza
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triticum
  • Whole Grains* / adverse effects
  • Young Adult
  • Zea mays


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol