Type-2 Diabetes Diet – The Benefits of Whole Grains

Eating high fiber whole foods such as oats, fruits, vegetables and seeds which have a low glycemic index is a very important component of a type 2 diabetes diet.


New research finds that whole grain foods may protect against the disease by improving a person’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

“Whole grains appear to be beneficial with respect to insulin levels and potentially with respect to diabetes risk,” says Tufts researcher Paul F. Jacques, whose study appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

it’s not clear why whole grains affect insulin levels, but it is suspected  that there may be more than one reason. Whole grain foods are high in fiber and magnesium, and people who eat these foods may have generally healthier lifestyles.

Whole grains contain three layers: bran (outer layer), endosperm (middle layer), and germ (grain core). Each layer provides us with specific nutrients and health benefits. The bran provides fiber, phytonutrients, B vitamins, and minerals. The endosperm contributes carbohydrate, protein, and B vitamins. And the germ supplies vitamin E, B vitamins, unsaturated fat, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.

Whole grains are high in fiber (which comes from both the outer bran layer and the nutrient-rich, inner germ level). Fiber slows the transit time of food through the gut and may help regulate the body’s release of insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar. The whole grain diet was also higher in vitamin E and magnesium than the refined grains diet; the study’s authors speculate that these nutrients might also have a metabolic effect on insulin levels.

Refined grains like white flour and white rice have the bran and germ layers removed, which means that many of the nutrition and health benefits have been removed, as well.

We know that whole grains are better than refined grains because of fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” says researcher Joanne Slavin of the University of Minnesota.


Now she and others are beginning to ask whether other things in whole grains-antioxidants, lignans, phenolic acids, phytoestrogens, and other phytochemicals may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Some examples of whole grains are:
  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Oatmeal and whole oats
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • Wild rice

Eat only 100% whole grain breads

The simple change from white bread to whole-grain bread with a lower-GI content within a high carbohydrate diet could reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, write the researchers. “Changing bread type may be a more acceptable dietary change than one requiring a whole new eating pattern.

But you have to be careful!

Many of the choices available in grocery stores are mostly refined, and tend to have a higher glycemic index. It might take a little searching to find a true whole grain bread – check out local health/natural food markets in your area. And of course, you can always bake your own bread!.

When purchasing bread products, be aware, that bread labels are often deceiving, calling bread made with refined flour and caramel color a “Wheat Bread.” Technically, it is a wheat bread because refined flour is made from wheat, but it is still not whole wheat. Read labels carefully to make sure that the ingredients say “WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR” OR “WHOLE GRAIN FLOUR” and NO white flour. Just because a bread is dark in color, for instance, does not mean that it is made from whole wheat. Breads such as pumpernickel, rye, bran, multigrain, wheat berry, oat, 12 grain, and sunflower are usually not made from whole grain flour.

Being brown doesn’t make bread necessary whole wheat or whole grain! Some brown bread indeed is added with brown coloring. You may find it listed on the label usually as “caramel coloring”!!! In addition, the term “multi-grain” bread, “rye” bread, “5 grain” or “7 grain” bread also doesn’t mean that they always use whole grain in their formulation. In United States and Canada, only bread labeled with “whole wheat” truly uses whole wheat flour in their processing. Other “wheat bread” may simply use a combination of white refined flour and whole wheat flour. The key word to look for is “whole“!!

Better yet, eat sprouted grain breads

Traditional bread is made from grains –– usually, little hard kernels –– that are ground up and made into flour. Sprouted bread is made from grains that have been allowed to sprout before being ground. Once it sprouts, the grain contains a greater array of nutrients, and it may even decrease a bit in carbohydrates and glycemic impact. Jennie Brand-Miller and her colleagues, co-authors of The New Glucose Revolution and What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up and Down? theorize that when a grain begins to sprout, it is likely that it uses its most readily available carbohydrate to fuel the actual growing of the tiny shoot. The result would be fewer carbohydrates left after sprouting.

A company that produces excellent highly recommended sprouted whole-grain bead products is Food for Life Inc.

Food for Life’s breads are healthier because of the live grain difference! Using freshly sprouted, certified organically grown live grains, our exclusive sprouting process significantly increases valuable nutrients.

Click here to find a Food for Life Retailer Near You.



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