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By Mandy Oaklander
January 5, 2015
TIME Health
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Keeping up with the carb-bashing can be tough. One day they’re in, the next day they’re on the chopping block. Evidence continues to pile up that a carb-heavy diet is hard not just on your waistline but also your heart—regardless of where that carb may fall on the glycemic index, according to a recent study.

But that’s not license to give up all grains quite yet. A diet that includes whole grains may help protect your heart, finds new research published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at data gathered from two large studies of about 118,000 men and women. No one had cancer or cardiovascular disease when they began. Measuring diet habits and food intake by questionnaire every two to four years, researchers found that higher whole grain intake was linked with a lower cardiovascular mortality and total mortality. However, more whole grains weren’t associated with a drop in cancer mortality.

MORE: 8 Awesome Whole Grains You’re Not Eating

The study authors estimate that every 28 gram-per-day serving of whole grains was associated with a 9% lower rate of death from cardiovascular disease and a 5% lower rate of death from any cause. “These results are in line with recommendations that promote increased whole grain consumption to facilitate disease prevention,” the authors write.

Though more evidence from both sides is sure to come about carbs and heart health, it’s best to remember the simple mantra: eat real food. We need every type of nutrient group, so it might be the kind of carb you choose that counts the most.

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