It doesn't matter if it's rye, oats or wheat. As long as it is whole grain, it can prevent type 2 diabetes. That’s the finding of a new study from researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the Danish Cancer Society Research Center.
The comprehensive study is a strong confirmation of previous research findings on the importance of eating whole grains to prevent type 2 diabetes.
The ability of whole grains to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes has been known for a long time. But the role of different whole grain foods has not been investigated. It has also been unclear how much whole grain is needed to reduce diabetes risk.
Whole grains consist of all three main components of the grain kernel: the starchy endosperm, the nutrient-rich germ and fibre-rich bran layer.
Most studies similar have previously been conducted in the U.S., where people mainly get their whole grain from wheat.
The research team wanted to see if there was a difference between different types of whole grains which contain different types of dietary fibre and phytochemicals.
The 15-year study was conducted in Denmark, where there is a large variation in whole grain intake. The study followed more than 55,000 participants, who were between 50-65 years old when the study started.
The findings: It made no difference which type of whole grain product or cereal the participants ate – whole rye bread, oatmeal and muesli, for example, seemed to offer the same protection against type 2 diabetes.
How much whole grain each day?
What is more important is how much whole grain one eats each day.
For the study, the participants were divided into four groups, based on how much whole grain they reported eating. Those with the highest consumption ate at least 50 grams of whole grain each day. (50 grams is equivalent to a portion of oatmeal porridge and one slice of rye bread).
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes was lowest in the group which had the highest whole grain intake. In the group that ate the most whole grains each day, the diabetes risk was 34 percent lower for men and 22 percent lower for women than the group who ate the least whole grains.
In addition to eating whole grain foods, drinking coffee and avoiding red meat are other factors that are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
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