Whole grains one of the most important food groups for the prevention of type 2 diabetes – ScienceDaily



It does not matter whether it is rye, oats or wheat. As long as it is whole grain, it can prevent type 2 diabetes. This is the finding of a new study by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the Danish Cancer Society Research Center. The extensive study is a strong confirmation of previous research results on the importance of whole grains for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

The ability to use wholegrains for the prevention of type 2 diabetes – previously known as diabetes in adults – has been known for a long time. But the role of various whole-wheat sources has not been investigated. It is also unclear how much whole grain is needed to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

"Most studies similar to ours have previously been conducted in the US, where most people get their whole wheat from wheat," says Rikard Landberg, professor of nutrition and health at Chalmers University of Technology, and senior researcher. "We wanted to see if there was a difference between different grains, which you would expect because they contain different types of dietary fiber and bioactive substances that have been shown to influence the risk factors for type 2 diabetes."

The study was conducted in Denmark, where there is a large variation in wholemeal intake. The study showed that it did not make any difference what type of wholemeal product or cereal the participants ate – rye bread, oatmeal and muesli, for example, seem to offer the same protection against type 2 diabetes.

More importantly, is how many wholegrain eat every day – and the study also provides important clarification of scientific knowledge when it comes to daily dosages.

The participants were divided into 4 different groups, based on the amount of whole grain they reported to eat. Those with the highest consumption ate at least 50 grams of whole grain every day. This corresponds to a portion of oatmeal porridge, and a slice of rye bread, for example.

The proportion that developed type 2 diabetes was lowest in the group that reported the highest wholemeal consumption and increased for each group that had eaten fewer whole grains. In the group with the highest wholemeal intake, the risk of diabetes was 34 percent lower for men and 22 percent lower for women than for the group with the lowest wholemeal intake.

"It is unusual to be able to research such a wide range when it comes to how many peoples eat there," says Rikard Landberg. "If you divided US participants into 4 groups, the group that had the most whole grain would be eaten at the same level as the group that ate the least whole grain in Denmark." In Europe, Scandinavia is eating the most, Spain and Italy the least. "

Moreover, the study was unusually large, with 55,000 participants, over a long period of time – 15 years.

If you compare the role of wholegrains in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes with other foods that have been studied in other studies, this is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk when it comes to nutrition. Drinking coffee and avoiding red meat are other factors that can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in the same way.

"Our results are in line with nutritional advice, which recommends switching off white flour foods for whole grain," says Rikard Landberg. "You get additional health benefits – white flour has a number of negative health effects, while whole grain has different positive effects, more than protection against type 2 diabetes."

Wholegrains are defined as consisting of all three main components of the cereal grain: endosperm, germ and bran. Those who avoid all grains, in an attempt to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, therefore lose the positive health effects of wholegrain, which mainly come from the bran and the germ. Rikard Landberg believes that cereals and carbohydrates in general should not be avoided in food.

"Carbohydrates are a very varied group of foods, including sugar, starch and fiber. We should discuss these more individually and not throw them together in one group, because they have totally different effects on our physiology and health. Wholegrains, the research results are clear: of the many studies that have been done, in different groups of people around the world, no study has shown negative health effects. "

More about: Wholegrains

Wholegrains consist of all three main components of the grain: endosperm, germ and bran. It can be both loose grains and wholemeal flour. Cereals such as oatmeal and rye, wheat, bulgur and whole grain couscous are all full grains. The content of wholemeal meat can vary in bread and pasta. Common grains include wheat, rye, oats, maize, maize, rice, millet and sorghum.

Swedish dietary advice is to eat about 70g whole grain oil per day for women and 90 grams per day for men. Some examples of how many whole grains contain different foods:

  • 1 50 g slice of rye bread: 16 g whole grain.
  • 1 35 g serving of porridge: 35 g whole grain
  • 12g crispbread: 12 g whole grain

Source: the Swedish National Food Administration and Chalmers University of Technology

More about: The study

The study used data from a prospective Danish cohort study on diet, cancer and health. It involved more than 55,000 participants, who were between 50 and 65 years old when the research began. During the start of the cohort study in the early nineties, healthy participants had completed detailed forms of their eating habits. As a result, the researchers measured the total wholegrain intake of the participants per day, which of the most common grains they had received from their whole ears (wheat, rye, oats, in grams per day), and the total number and different types of wholemeal products ( in grams per day) – rye bread, other whole grain bread, oatmeal porridge and muesli.

The cohort study was linked to data from Denmark's national diabetes registry to investigate which participants developed type 2 diabetes over a 15-year period – in total more than 7,000 people.


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