Beat diabetes with beans on (wholegrain) toast -
Australians 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
"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
"And don't forget snacks - wholegrain crispbreads or rye
bread with a favourite topping are the ideal between-meal
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
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
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
* BJ Venn and JI Mann (2004). ‘Cereals,
Grains and Diabetes', European Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, 58(11), 1443-1461.
Source: Go Grains