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Cleveland Clinic teams with Nestle to study whole-grain diet

Updated 6:34 p.m. The Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland has donated $500,000 to the Cleveland Clinic‘s Lerner Research Institute to study the effects of a whole-grain diet on a person’s body composition and energy metabolism. It would be one of the largest controlled studies of its type on whole grains, and the first to […]

Updated 6:34 p.m.

The Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland has donated $500,000 to the Cleveland Clinic‘s Lerner Research Institute to study the effects of a whole-grain diet on a person’s body composition and energy metabolism.

It would be one of the largest controlled studies of its type on whole grains, and the first to use advanced body composition measurement techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the Clinic. Scientists at Nestle Research Center will use state-of-the-art metabolomic analyses to examine changes in metabolism.

The study is more evidence that the Cleveland Clinic is becoming a leader in the wellness market, which one economist believes could reach $1 trillion this year.

“This collaboration combines Nestle’s core expertise in nutrition with Lerner Research Institute’s scientific vision and will help us define the scientific basis for new product development,” said Nestle USA Chairman and CEO Brad Alford in a release.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide good-tasting products with nutritional benefits to consumers,” Alford said. The study will build on previous Nestle research that suggests a diet rich in whole grains has potential nutritional benefits.

It’s not the first time Nestle has partnered with an institution that uses MRI technology to gauge health. In 2008, the Swiss food company began working with General Electric Co.’s research and development organization to scientifically assess the connections among body composition, metabolic status, diet and lifestyle habits. One of the goals of that collaboration was developing optimized diets based on people’s genes.

Nestle researchers and lead investigator John Kirwan, who is in the Pathobiology Department at the Lerner Research Institute, begin their study this month. The 26-week study will enroll up to 50 people who will eat meals provided by Nestle Prepared Food Co.’s facility in Solon, Ohio.

During the first phase of the study, one group’s diet will include mostly whole-grain carbohydrates while the other will get meals made from refined carbohydrates. During the second phase, the two groups will switch diets.

“Our Nestle colleagues in Europe have been impressed with the world-class facilities and expertise found at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute,” Alford said. “We’re excited to have the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Nestle Prepared Foods Co. and Nestle Research Center working together on this study.”

[Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Nestle USA, Robert Glusic]