Wholegrains and health: Many benefits but do contaminants pose any risk?

A. P. Nugent, Frank Thielecke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
184 Downloads (Pure)


Since pre-historic times, humans have consumed grains as part of their diet.Being rich in carbohydrates, grains typically form a key part of all food-baseddietary guidelines, with wholegrains recommended as healthy dietary choices.However, grains are also exposed to contaminants from air, soil, water, insects,animals, microbes, humans, storage and shipping containers, and handling andprocessing equipment and can be one of the main dietary sources of food-bornecontaminants by virtue of their frequent consumption. Recent scientific reportspositively highlight wholegrains as foods with inherent health properties, which,because they provide fibre and micronutrients such as B vitamins and zinc, canimprove the quality of carbohydrate intake as part of sustainable, healthy diets.This article describes potential health-protective properties inherent towholegrains and contends that the presence of contaminants in wholegrains,including mycotoxins, heavy metals and acrylamide, merits continued monitoringbut that any such risk does not outweigh the known benefits of wholegrain consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number2
Early online date29 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • mycotoxin,
  • wholegrain
  • contaminant,
  • dietary exposure,
  • fibre
  • health


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