Publication Details

This article was originally published as Williams, PG, Gafenauer, SJ and O'Shea, JE, Cereal grains, legumes, and weight management: a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence, Nutrition Reviews, 66(4), 2004, 171-182.


There is strong evidence that a diet high in wholegrains is associated with lower BMI, waist circumference and risk of being overweight; that a diet high in wholegrains and legumes can help reduce weight gain; and that significant weight loss is achievable with energy controlled diets that are high in cereals and legumes. There is weak evidence that high intakes of refined grains may cause small increases in waist circumference in women. There is no evidence that low carbohydrate diets that restrict cereal intakes offer long term advantages for sustained weight loss. There is insufficient evidence to make clear conclusions about the protective effect of legumes on weight.



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