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  • Pamela Rice
    http://my.webmd.com/content/article/61/67531.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_nb_04 Whole-Grain Diet Reduces Diabetes Risk The Fiber Reduces The Body s Demand for Insulin
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2003

      Whole-Grain Diet Reduces Diabetes Risk

      The Fiber Reduces The Body's Demand for Insulin

      By Jeanie Lerche Davis
      WebMD Medical News

      Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
      on Friday, February 28, 2003

      Feb. 28, 2003 -- Whole grains in your diet can lessen diabetes risk,
      according to a new study from Finland. Trouble is, Americans still
      reach for white bread, rather than whole wheat, when they make a

      The study puts teeth to a theory many nutritionists have promoted --
      that a high-fiber diet composed of whole grains, fruits, and
      vegetables keeps obesity at bay. Obesity and lack of exercise are the
      top risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

      A diet high in whole grains -- specifically rye -- had greater impact
      on reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, reports lead author Jukka
      Montonen, who's with the National Public Health Institute in
      Helsinki. His study appears in the March issue of the American
      Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

      In this study, vegetables and fruits did not show an effect on
      reducing the risk of diabetes, he adds.

      A few studies have suggested a link between whole grains and reduced
      risk of type 2 diabetes, but there has been little concrete evidence
      until now, Montonen says.

      He and colleagues conducted yearly interviews of over 4,000 Finnish
      men and women from 1966 and 1972, to obtain an idea of their daily
      diet. He then followed them for 10 years, to detect the incidence of
      type 2 diabetes. Those who ate the most fiber decreased their risk of
      getting the disease by more than a third.

      "Dietary fiber is one nutrient that may provide protection against
      the disease. The beneficial effect of soluble fiber may be ... the
      slow absorption and digestion of carbohydrates that lead to a reduced
      demand for insulin," writes Montonen.

      Diabetes develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin or does
      not respond to insulin properly. The disorder develops slowly over
      many years. This dysfunction in insulin production causes blood sugar
      levels to rise beyond what is safe for the body, and damage occurs in
      blood vessels and nerves.

      "Americans understand that whole grains are healthier than refined
      grains, but the average person eats less than one serving of whole
      grains per day," writes preventive medicine expert Simin Liu, a
      Harvard researcher with the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston,
      in an accompanying editorial.

      "The challenge for the food industry is to make whole-grain products
      more appealing than refined-grain products," Liu says.

      For the rest of us, "the challenge is to develop habits to increase
      whole-grain intake such as substituting whole wheat bread for white
      bread when making a sandwich," Liu says. "Developing such a simple
      habit may have long-term health benefits."

      SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1, 2003.

      © 2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
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