Whole grain cereals, popcorn rich in antioxidants, not just fiber: study

August 18, 2009
Popcorn has the highest levels of healthy antioxidants among whole grain snack foods, researchers are reporting. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In a first-of-its kind study, scientists reported today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that snack foods like popcorn and many popular breakfast cereals contain "surprisingly large" amounts of healthful antioxidant substances called "polyphenols."

Polyphenols are a major reason why fruits and vegetables — and foods like chocolate, wine, coffee, and tea — have become renowned for their potential role in reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Until now, however, no one knew that commercial hot and cold whole grain cereals — regarded as healthful for their fiber content — and snack foods also were a source of polyphenols.

"Early researchers thought the fiber was the active ingredient for these benefits in , the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and ," said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who headed the new study. "But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. Breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute over 66 percent of whole grain intake in the U.S. diet."

Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, said "We found that, in fact, whole grain products have comparable per gram to fruits and vegetables. This is the first study to examine total phenol antioxidants in breakfast cereals and snacks, whereas previous studies have measured free antioxidants in the products."

Polyphenols are a group of chemicals found in many fruits, , and other plants, such as berries, walnuts, olives, tea leaves and grapes. Known as antioxidants, they remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are chemicals that have the potential to cause damage to cells and tissues in the body.

The whole grain cereal with the most antioxidants are made with wheat, with corn, oats and rice cereals following in descending order, according to Vinson. He also noted that raisin bran has the highest amount of antioxidants per serving, primarily due to the raisins.

Bran cereals made from wheat overall do not have more antioxidants than wheat cereals, though they do have more fiber, he said. In other findings, he said that whole grain flours are very high in antioxidants; whole grain snacks have slightly lower levels of antioxidants than cereals; of snacks, popcorn has the highest level of antioxidants; and there is a wide variation in the amount of antioxidants in each class of cold cereal.

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Clemson chemists discover new way antioxidants fight debilitating diseases

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 18, 2009
Isn't Polyphenol the son of Neptune? Odyssius found that out the hard way. Dont go messing with Neptune!
not rated yet Aug 19, 2009
No, but polyurethane was synthesized from parrot pee.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2009
Oh, guess popcorn will be classed as a prescription drug next year then if the UN get to pass their Codex Alimentarius.


If your from the UK, click the link below to petition against it.


Ofc I reckon micorwave popcorn will still be legal since it contains effective enough levels of perfluorooctanoic in the paper bag and Diacetyl in the fake butter to promote the all great profitable cancer, sick eh!
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
Pro disease/cancer are you soylent? Prefer spending/making money on curing it than preventing it? It's unlike ya to disagree with someone and not voice your opinion on the matter..

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.