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It is now a well-established fact that eating whole grains (such as quinoa, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread, whole oats or oatmeal, and whole-grain brown or wild rice) can help prevent type 2 diabetes. The newly released Canada’s Food Guide encourages people to enjoy a wide variety, as they can help lower the risk of several chronic diseases.

A team of researchers wanted to find out if there was a difference in the health benefits offered by different cereals. The researchers, from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Denmark, looked at data from more than 55,000 Danish participants who were between 50 and 65 years old when the study started in the early 1990s. At the beginning of the study, people filled in detailed forms of their eating habits. This information was then linked to Denmark’s national diabetes register to see who developed type 2 diabetes over the next 15 years (more than 7,000 people did).

The study showed that eating at least one serving (16 grams) of whole grain a day was linked to an 11 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes for men and a seven per cent lower risk for women.

Rye bread, whole-grain bread, and oatmeal/muesli were all associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes for both men and women.

The most important factor, researchers found, was how much people ate each day. Those who ate at least 50 grams of whole grain each day (equal to a portion of oatmeal porridge and one slice of rye bread, for example) had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes: 34 per cent lower for men and 22 per cent lower for women, compared to people who ate the least amount of whole grain.

(Want to learn more about whole grains? Read “The Whole Truth About Whole Grains”)

(This article appeared in Diabetes Dialogue, Summer 2019)

Author: Elizabeth McCammon

Category Tags: Research;

Region: National

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