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The Health Centre

Beat diabetes with beans on (wholegrain) toast -

baked beansAustralians now have scientific support for one of their favourite foods – fibre-rich beans on (wholegrain) toast.

New research shows that wholegrains and legumes can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 20-30%.

Australia is facing a diabetes epidemic - nearly one in four adults has the disease or is at risk, with costs topping $1.2 billion annually.

The review, by researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand, was published this week in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.*

”There is now overwhelming evidence that people who eat two to three serves of wholegrain foods each day are 20-30% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who do not eat any wholegrain foods,” according to Professor Jim Mann, Professor in Human Nutrition and Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand, one of the authors of the paper.

"There is strong evidence to suggest that eating a variety of wholegrain foods and legumes is beneficial in the prevention and management of diabetes,” Professor Mann said.

"For those who are at risk but have not yet developed diabetes, the progression of impaired glucose tolerance to Type 2 diabetes can be delayed, and insulin resistance improved, by lifestyle changes that include exercise and a diet that includes wholegrain foods.”

For people who already have diabetes, diets that include substantial amounts of wholegrain and high fibre cereal foods, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity and improved blood sugar control.

"Furthermore, people with diabetes are up to four times more at risk from heart disease and wholegrain foods have also been clearly shown to be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease," Professor Mann said.

Ms Trish Griffiths, Accredited Practising Dietitian and manager for the Go Grains Nutrition Education Program, said eating more wholegrain foods and legumes to get this benefit is relatively easy to achieve.

"The key is to include wholegrains and legumes in meals and snacks throughout the day,” Ms Griffiths said.

"Begin the day with a wholegrain or high fibre breakfast cereal or oats. Then choose a wholegrain sandwich or roll for lunch. At dinner include some legumes - try lentils in soups or chickpeas in curry - served with brown rice or wholemeal pasta.

"And don't forget snacks - wholegrain crispbreads or rye bread with a favourite topping are the ideal between-meal top up."

The suggestion that wholegrain and high fibre foods might protect against the development of diabetes, as well as being useful in its management, is relatively recent and it is not yet clear which components of wholegrains produce the beneficial effect.

According to Professor Mann, the nutrients in wholegrains - for example fibre and the essential mineral magnesium - may account for some of the beneficial effect, but it is possible that the intact structure of the grain may be important.

Professor Mann's research review was commissioned by Go Grains - a nutrition communication program developed by BRI Australia and supported by Australian grain growers and the Commonwealth Government through the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

* BJ Venn and JI Mann (2004). ‘Cereals, Grains and Diabetes', European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 58(11), 1443-1461.


Source: Go Grains





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