Dietary intake of whole grains and plasma alkylresorcinol concentrations in relation to changes in anthropometry: the Danish diet, cancer and health cohort study

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Whole grain intake has been associated with a small but significant lower body weight gain in observational studies, but there is limited knowledge about the associations with specific whole grain types. The objective was to investigate the association between whole grains, different sources of whole grains and biomarkers of whole grain intake (alkylresorcinols) in relation to subsequent changes in waist circumference (WC) and body weight.


Cohort study of 57 053 participants with baseline information on whole grain intake from questionnaires (FFQ) and biomarkers of whole grain rye and wheat intake, plasma alkylresorcinols, for a subset. WC and body weight were measured at baseline and again at follow-up. The associations were estimated using multiple linear regression analyses and logistic regression.


For women, overall whole grain intake was not related to changes in WC or body weight. For men, total whole grain intake was associated with gains in WC (ΔWC per 25 g increment: 0.44 cm, 95% CI: 0.34 cm; 0.54 cm) and body weight (Δweight per 25 g increment: 150 g, 95% CI: 78 g; 222 g), but the results changed to null or changed direction when adjusting for baseline anthropometry. For the different sources of whole grains, rye (women) and crispbread was significantly associated with gains in WC and body weight. Plasma alkylresorcinol concentration was associated with reduced WC, but not body weight, for women (ΔWC per 50 nmol/l increment: − 0.69 cm, 95% CI: − 1.26 cm; − 0.13 cm), but no association was found for men.


Overall, no strong relationship between whole grain intake, measured from questionnaires or using biomarkers was found in relation to changes in body weight and WC.

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