Can Adding More Whole Grains To Your Diet Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
Whether you have type 2 diabetes or are trying to prevent it, new evidence suggests you should consider adding more whole grains into your diet.
Not sure if you should add that loaf of rye bread or those rolled oats to your grocery cart? If you’re concerned about your blood sugar, the answer is “Yes!”
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The study looked at 55,465 participants between the ages of 50 to 65. Researchers found that the highest whole grain intake among men was associated with a 34% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Women who ate the most whole grains saw a 22% decreased risk.
“Whole grains, which are fiber, can help with diabetes because fiber helps with insulin sensitivity,” explains endocrinologist Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, MD, who did not take part in the research. “Fiber is harder to break down. As a result, it stabilizes blood sugar. So you don’t get those spikes in blood sugar that you get with refined sugar.”
Whether you have type 2 diabetes or are trying to prevent it, Dr. Kellis says it’s important not only to eat plenty of whole grains (such as wheat, rye and oats), but to also cut back on refined grains.
Too many refined grains — such as sugary beverages, sweets, pastries, white breads, white flour, white pasta and white rice — can cause your blood sugar to spike.
And even if a food label advertises “whole grain,” it’s still important to read the label in its entirety to make sure that there aren’t hidden refined sugars as well.
Dr. Kellis also points out that whole grains are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to type 2 diabetes prevention.
“Yes, increasing whole grains will help to reduce your risk of diabetes, but you want to incorporate vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and fruits into your diet as well,” she says.
Complete results of the study can be found in The Journal of Nutrition.