In this context, ”cereal” refers to “a grass such as wheat, oats, or corn, the starchy grains of which are used as food” (American Heritage Dictionary).
Here’s their summary:
There is strong evidence that a diet high in whole grains is associated with lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference, and reduced risk of being overweight; that a diet high in whole grains 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.
In July, 2008, I blogged about a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed better weight loss after two years on the low-carb Atkins diet compared to a low-fat (and higher cereal) diet. We’re not looking at huge differences here:
- 7.3 lb (3.3 kg) loss for the low-fat group
- 10.1 lb (4.6 kg) loss for the Mediterranean diet group
- 12.1 lb (5.5 kg) loss for the Atkins group
The Wollongong authors probably didn’t have access to that report. I suspect they would retract their opinion that “there is no evidence that low-carbohydrate diets that restrict cereal intakes offer long-term advantages for sustained weight loss.” Could depend on what they consider “long-term.”
I haven’t read the entire article but invite you to do so.
Reference: Williams, P.G., et al. Cereal grains, legumes, and weight management: a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence. Nutrition Reviews, 66(2008): 171-82.