Whole-grain rye and wheat affect some markers of gut health without altering the fecal microbiota in healthy overweight adults: A 6-week randomized trial
Journal article, 2017
Whole grains have shown potential for improving gut health, but evidence comparing different whole-grain types is lacking. Objective:We investigated whether whole-grain wheat (WGW) and whole-grain rye (WGR) improve gut health in different ways compared to refined wheat (RW), with the primary outcomes of microbiota composition and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Methods: In a randomized parallel trial, 70 healthy adults (in means ± SDs; aged 51.0 ± 9.4 y, body mass index [BMI (in kg/m2)] 27.8 ± 1.9, 32:38 men:women) replaced cereal foods from their habitual diet with WGR, WGW, or RW (control). Before and after a 6-wk intervention, a spot stool sample was collected and analyzed for short-chain fatty acids and microbiota composition through the use of 16S ribosomal RNA gene-targeted high-throughput amplicon sequencing. GI symptoms and stool regularity were evaluated by questionnaires at baseline and after weeks 2, 4, and 6. Results: Intakes of whole grains were 145.2 ± 75.9, 124.2 ± 57.3, and 5.4 ± 3.2 g/d in the WGW, WGR, and RW groups, respectively. Gut microbiota composition was not affected by diet. The relative change in fecal butyrate decreased in the RW (238%) group compared to the WGW (25%, P = 0.014) and WGR groups (21%, P = 0.037). Other short-chain fatty acids were unaffected. Flatulence was more frequent following intake of WGW (OR: 2.06, 95% CI: 1.03, 4.17) and WGR (OR: 2.62, 95% CI: 1.35, 5.22) compared to RW, whereas bloating was less frequent following WGW (OR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.80) and WGR (OR: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.16, 0.72). Stool frequency increased following WGR but not WGW, compared to RW in weeks 2 (0.4 defecations/d, P = 0.049) and 4 (0.5 defecations/d, P = 0.043), but not in week 6. The WGW and WGR groups did not differ from each other in any of the variables tested. Conclusion: Regular consumption ofWGR andWGWaffected fecal butyrate concentration and gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy overweight adults, supporting the hypothesis thatWGR andWGWcan be included in the diet equally tomaintain gut health.