According to researchers from Tufts University in Boston, eating three or more servings of whole grain foods per day could substantially reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They studied more than 40,000 men who ate an average of 3.5 servings of whole grains per day. They compared those men to men who ate less than a half a serving of whole grains per day. In the men who had high whole grain intakes, researchers found about a 30-percent reduction in risk of diabetes for non-obese men and a 40-percent reduction for obese men who were physically active.
Researchers say the cereal fiber found in whole grains such as brown rice, dark breads, whole grain cereals, and other foods helps to slow the digestion, thus slowing the release of glucose into the blood. This, in turn, helps to reduce the insulin response that occurs in the body after eating. The fiber also makes people feel full sooner, leading to a reduction in food intake.
Researchers followed male health care professionals for 10 years. All were between 45 and 70 years old when the study began and were free of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. During the study, about 1520 of the men developed type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers current dietary guidelines recommend 6 to 10 servings of grains per day, and suggest several of those servings come from the whole grains group. However, studies show most Americans consume far less whole grains than recommended.