Whole Grains Help to Prevent Diabetes

A study from Harvard School of Public Health shows that people who do not eat whole grains are at increased risk for developing diabetes.

The Health Professionals Follow-up Study followed 43,000 doctors who did not have a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for 12 yeas from 1986 to 1998. Of the 43,000 doctors, 1197 developed diabetes. Researchers then adjusted the data for causes of diabetes, such as age; physical activity; cigarette smoking; alcohol consumption; family history of diabetes; and fruit, vegetable, and energy intake. They found that the relative risk of type 2 diabetes in whole grain eaters was half that of those who didn't eat whole grains.

The difference between eating whole grains and foods made with ground-up grains (flour) is that you have a high rise in blood sugar after eating bakery products and pastas, and a much slower and shallower rise in blood sugar after eating whole grains. The authors conclude that: "In men, a diet high in whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Efforts should be made to replace refined-grain with whole-grain foods."

More on prevention and treatment of diabetes

Whole-grain intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study in men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, Vol 76, Iss 3, pp 535-540.TT Fung, FB Hu, MA Pereira, SM Liu, MJ Stampfer, GA Colditz, WC Willett. Fung TT, Simmons Coll, Nutr Program, 300 Fenway, Boston,MA 02115 USA.

Checked 11/9/09

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