Study Says Diet High in Whole Grains Lowers Risk of Diabetes, Cardio Disease

| Feb 13, 2008

The debate between low-carb and low-fat diet advocates took a dramatic turn in January with the American Diabetes Association's limited approval of low-carb diets as weight-loss aids. Momentum seemed to have shifted to low-carb proponents.

But now a Penn State study has concluded that diets high in whole grains not only help people lose weight, but also stave off diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers tracked 50 obese people, 25 men and 25 women between the ages of 20 and 65 years, who had metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms, such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and high "bad" cholesterol, that predispose people to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.)

The portly participants were divided into two groups. For 12 weeks, both groups received the same advice on weight loss and exercise. Furthermore, they both consumed five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy products, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry. The only difference? Every grain the first group ate was refined, like white flour. The other group couldn't touch a grain unless it was whole, like oatmeal, whole grain cereal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, granola bars, popcorn, and whole-wheat crackers.

By the end of the study, participants in both groups had dropped an average of eight to 11 pounds. However, the whole grain group lost more weight in the abdominal region. Even better, the whole grain group experienced a 38 percent decrease in its C-reactive blood protein (CRP) levels. (CRP is an indicator of vascular inflammation and is considered a precursor to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.) The refined grain group experienced no decrease in CRP levels.

Researchers said that although they are not sure why CRP levels decreased in the whole grain group, the scale of reduction was similar to that seen in patients who use statin drugs.

This study was supported by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Human Nutrition, and the National Institutes of Health.

Source: HealthDay

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Heart Care & Heart Disease, Losing weight, Low Calorie & Low Fat, Low Carb

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (14)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 14 February 2008

The problem is they are comparing people who eat things made with whole grains to people who eat things made with white flour. If they compared both to a group who eats neither it would turn out you should eat no grains at all for the least risk of diabetes and they would bury the report so deep it would never be seen again. Who knows, maybe they already have.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

How do you define a group eating refined flour products as low carb? I wonder what the results would have been if one group had eaten no grain products, eating only leafy vegetables etc. compared to the group eating whole grains.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

EXACTLY, anonymous #1--They should have had a third group with NO grains. My dad has type 2 DM, and my fasting glucoses were creeping up into the prediabetic range. Using ROSEDALE and following the advice of MASTERING LEPTIN as far as 1) High protein breakfast, 2) 3 meals a day, 5-6 hours apart, NO snacks, 3) No eating within 3 hours of bedtime, 4) Walking an hour a few times a week, it's only taken me since mid-December to lose 12 lbs. And it's been EASY. After 30+ years the ADA finally comes up with "low carb might be okay." Well, gee, woohoo. The low-fat, high-carb diet they've been pushing for so long is what CAUSED a lot of the diabetes in the first place!

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

That is ridiculous. It shows that REFINED carbs are terrible for you. It doesn't show that whole grains are good for you! As the other poster above said, just compare that group to a group that eats NO GRAINS at all and see what happens.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

These studies are so manipulated.
The bottom line is that all non-fiber carbs turn into glucose in your blood system.
i am amazed that the ADA finally mentions low carb diets given the funds it receives from outfits like Cadbury-Schwepps (yes, the candy and soda people).

it really is time for people to get a handle on the fact that you shoudl not treat the metabolisms of type 1 and type 2 the same way.
And that anything you can make flour from or is made out of flour, is bad news for type 2.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

There are two big problems with such studies. First, the studies assume or at least infer that grains are a normal and necessary part of the human diet. They are not. Even whole grains require processing to render them into an edible form. Thus it is highly unlikely that early man ever at any form of grain in any significant amount.

The second issue is that no criteria has ever been established that defines what constitutes a low carbohydrate diet. So any diet that is less than the amount of carbs 'recommended' (there is no requirement in human nutrition) by an official body can be labeled 'low carb'. This opens the door to the kind of misinformation and disinformation that is being deployed to persuade the public the low carb offers no health benefits.

My criteria for a low carb diet is that it results in the production of insulin levels below the threshold at which fat burning is inhibited. Although this will vary from person to person, it is in the area of 60 grams of net carbohydrate consumption per day.

I suggest that there are very good reasons why a criteria for low carbohydrate diets has yet to be officially established and probably never will be.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

My husband ate a diet very similar to the diet of the second group before his diagnosis (he was concerned about heart disease)

Posted by Anonymous on 15 February 2008

all these studies do is make us crazy, low carb works for me,plus i dont like grains

Posted by whimsy2 on 16 February 2008

The ADA is still pussyfooting around. I guess they just can't admit they've been giving bad advice all these years.

Eliminating ALL grains and grain products from diabetic diets will not only result in weight loss, it will result in greatly improved BGs amd cholesterol levels. And it's not something to do for just one year, as the ADA advocates; it's for life.

But I guess the ADA just can't admit it's been leading diabetics down the garden path with wrong information all these years.

Posted by Anonymous on 16 February 2008

You guys are so right...BG control is so much better when carbs are extremely reduced. It's great to hear that there are others out there who have seen the light. Too bad the ADA is still in the dark!

Posted by bdebruler on 22 February 2008

The diet industry (and supplement industry too) is built on the gross oversimplification of just about any morsel of knowledge about human nutrition etc. You can't just call carbs bad, even for diabetics. It's more complex than that.

It's all about kinetics, or in plain language rates of absorption of carbohydrate and insulin. If you eat monstrous amounts of simple carbs, obviously it will spike your BG. If you eat complex carbs, and especially with some protein and fat, then you dramatically slow down the breakdown and absorption of those carbs. Then it's just about matching your insulin to the amount of carbohydrate, which isn't really that hard.

Ban fad diets!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 2 March 2008

If you eat complex carbs, and especially with some protein and fat, then you dramatically slow down the breakdown and absorption of those carbs. Then it's just about matching your insulin to the amount of carbohydrate, which isn't really that hard.

It is a lot more complicated than that. I can eat whole grain cereal and fruit for breakfast and have a serious low 2 hours later. If I eat meat, cheese, and/or eggs for breakfast and no grain or sugar, I'm OK until lunch time.

It may be simple to match _your_ insulin to your carbohydrate but it has never worked for me. I have always had a problem with carbohydrate even when I was a skinny little kid.

Ban the low fat fad!

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2008

BG meters don't lie... Grain products like oatmeal, white bread, flour etc. all send the my readings into yellow and red zones...

And rice, holy cow even the so called good stuff "wild rice" contains a whopping 35 carbs per serving.

I still eat these foods but greatly restrict quantities and only do it on good BG days.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 August 2008

Hi, I'm another reader wading through and wanted to add some comments you'll enjoy. I work on a medical campus and had a brief discussion with a former head of the AHA (who teaches here). We disagreed completely on what is the proper nutrition for pre- and type2- diabetics, which also should be heeded by the general population as well. Needless to say, he remains a big fan of low-fat high whole-grain consumption, still typical of the clueless recommendations from national organizations such as the AHA and ADA. I told him his organization was decades behind the times, and in fact, was partially responsible for the huge epidemic increase in pre- and type2- diabetes in this country. Pretty much stopped all further conversation. But, ya know, it's true. If you want good dietary advice, the first thing to do is completely ignore the sorry advice of these national organizations. It's a truly sad state of affairs when advice from so-called "research experts" actually furthers a national health-care crisis, but there it is.

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.