Diet can have a major influence on the development and progression of chronic illnesses. Studies have reported a positive association between a high intake of carbohydrates and the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study aims to examine the association between the intake of different types of grains and the risk of cardiovascular disease or death.

This prospective cohort study included a total of 148,858 participants who did not have any history of cardiovascular disease. The intake of refined grains, whole grains, and white rice was considered based on country-specific validated food frequency questionnaires. The primary outcome of the study was a composite of mortality or major cardiovascular events.

Of 148,858 participants, 137,130 were included in the study. During the follow-up of 9.5 years, 12,668 (9.2%) of the participants had a composite outcome event. Participants in the highest category of intake of refined grains (more than 350g a day, 7 servings a week) were at a higher risk of total mortality (HR 1.27), major cardiovascular disease events (1.33), and their composite (1.28) compared with the lowest category of intake. No significant association of cardiovascular events was found with the intake of whole grains or white rice.

The research concluded that a higher intake of refined grains was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.