At the start of the study, more than 55,000 people, ages 50 to 65 and without diabetes, reported their customary intake of various whole grain products and were then followed for 15 years. Those consuming the most whole grains (at least three or four servings a day) were 20 to 40 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming the least. When researchers controlled for physical activity, body weight, total calorie intake, and other factors, the apparent benefit was reduced but still significant.
Like other Nordic groups, this Danish population had a higher and more varied intake of whole grains than typical Americans. All types of whole grains—whole wheat, rye, or oats in breads or breakfast cereal (muesli)—were associated with reduced risk.
“Our findings are in line with accumulating evidence that whole grains may be one of the most important food groups for the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” the study concluded.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Whole Grains: The 10-to-1 Rule.