Study says wholegrains can help prevent type 2 diabetes

05/09/2018 - 09:46
Researchers have today (5 September) confirmed that wholegrain can indeed prevent type 2 diabetes, after carrying out a 15-year study on 55,000 participants.

Conducted by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, the study looked at the impact different wholegrain sources have and how much is needed to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

It investigated 55,000 people over 15 years in Denmark - where there is ‘a big variation in wholegrain-intake’ compared to America and other European cities.

Rikard Landberg. senior researcher and professor in food and health at Chalmers University of Technology, explained: “Most studies similar to ours have previously been conducted in the US, where people mainly get their wholegrain from wheat.

“We wanted to see if there was a difference between different cereals. One might expect there would be, because they contain different types of dietary fibre and bioactive substances, which have been shown to influence risk factors for type 2 diabetes.”

While findings confirmed that different types of wholegrain and cereal offer ‘the same’ protection against type 2 diabetes, the amount consumed has a huge impact.

The biggest wholegrain consumers ate at least 50 grams each day (equivalent to one portion of oatmeal porridge and a slice of rye bread for example). Compared to those with the lowest intake, the diabetes risk was 34% lower for men and 22% lower for women.

The study proved that the less wholegrain eaten, the higher the chance of getting type 2 diabetes. 

Claiming wholegrain is “one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk when it comes to diet,” Landberg warns against avoiding all cereals – for a low-carb diet for example - as you “lose out on the positive health effects of wholegrain.”

He added: “Our results are in line with dietary advice, which recommends switching out foods containing white flour for wholegrains.

“You get extra health benefits – white flour has some negative effects on health, while wholegrain has several positive effects - beyond protection against type 2 diabetes.

“Carbohydrates are a very varied group of foodstuffs, including sugar, starch, and fibre. 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.

“When it comes to wholegrains, the research results are clear: among the many studies which have been made, in varied groups of people around the world, there hasn’t been a single study which has shown negative health effects.”

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