Objective: Prospective studies have suggested that substituting whole grain for refined grain products may lower the risk of overweight and obesity. Breakfast cereal intake is a major source of whole and refined grains and has also been associated with having a lower BMI. The aim of this study was to prospectively assess the association between whole and refined grain breakfast cereal intakes and risk of overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and weight gain.
Research Methods and Procedures: We examined 17, 881 U.S. male physicians 40 to 84 years of age in 1982 who were free of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and cancer at baseline and reported measures of breakfast cereal intake, weight, and height.
Results: Over 8 and 13 years of follow-up, respectively, men who consumed breakfast cereal, regardless of type, consistently weighed less than those who consumed breakfast cereals less often (p value for trend = 0.01). Whole and refined grain breakfast cereal intake was inversely associated with body weight gain over 8 years, after adjustment for age, smoking, baseline BMI, alcohol intake, physical activity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and use of multivitamins. Compared with men who rarely or never consumed breakfast cereals, those who consumed ≥1 serving/d of breakfast cereals were 22% and 12% less likely to become overweight during follow-up periods of 8 and 13 years (relative risk, 0.78 and 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.67 to 0.91 and 0.76 to 1.00, respectively).
Discussion: BMI and weight gain were inversely associated with intake of breakfast cereals, independently of other risk factors.