People who eat more refined grains have a higher risk of heart disease in some studies. Could white bread, rice, and pasta raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol?

In a 2018 study, a diet high in refined grains led to higher LDL cholesterol levels than a whole-grain diet.

Researchers fed 11 older adults diets that were high in refined grains, whole grains, or added sugars for 4½ weeks each.

LDL cholesterol levels were 10 percent higher after the volunteers ate the refined-grain diet than after they ate the whole-grain diet. LDL was slightly, but not significantly, higher after they ate the diet rich in added sugars than after they ate the whole-grain diet.

What to do

It’s too early to know whether larger studies will confirm these results. But they’re one more reason to replace refined grains with whole grains. And cut back on added sugars. Other studies suggest that they raise the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.

Photo: thodonal/