Eating More of This Food Each Day Could Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, According to New Research
Since type 2 diabetes relates to blood sugar control, if you're unfamiliar with our well-balanced diabetes meal plan, you might think that a low-carb diet is your best bet for controlling it, preventing it or potentially shifting it into remission.
Think again, suggests a new study published October 13, 2021, in the journal Nutrients. Eating more whole-grain foods will not only reduce our risk for receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, but it will also greatly reduce the overall health care costs of related treatments (naturally). This news comes on the heels of a July 2020 BMJ study that discovered that those who eat one or more servings of whole grains per day had 29% lower risk for type 2 than those who ate less than one serving per month.
BTW, nearly two dozen foods fall under the whole-grain umbrella, according to the Whole Grains Council, including barley, corn, farro, oats (Ina Garten's favorite!), quinoa, sorghum, wheat and wild rice.
"Our study shows that already one serving of whole grains as part of the daily diet reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes at the population level and, consequently, the direct diabetes-related costs, when compared to people who do not eat whole-grain foods on a daily basis," Janne Martikainen, a study co-author and professor at the University of Eastern Finland, tells University of Eastern Finland News. "Over the next 10 years, society's potential to achieve cost savings would be from $300 million (-3.3%) to almost $1 billion (-12.2%) euros in current value, depending on the presumed proportion of whole-grain foods in the daily diet. On the level of individuals, this means more healthier years."
Researchers estimate that about 16% of our overall carb consumption comes from whole grains—far less than the nutrition rule of thumb that half of our grains, or 3 to 5 servings per day, should be whole. As a result, a whopping 95% of us fall below the level of recommended fiber consumption (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men). And, over time, we're not maxing out our type 2 diabetes prevention potential. (ICYMI, here's more about the latest science on the importance of whole grains.)
As a refresher, here's what counts as a serving of whole grains, per the Whole Grains Council:
- ½ cup cooked whole-grain pasta, rice, bulgur, barley or oats
- 1 slice whole-grain bread
- 1 cup whole-grain cereal flakes
- 1 ounce whole-grain dried pasta, rice or other dry grain (Many recipes call for 2 to 3 ounces of dried pasta, cooked, per person, so you can score a great dose in any of our 30-minute whole-wheat pasta recipes that actually taste good!)
- A 1-ounce whole-grain muffin
Feeling stumped about where to start in your quest to eat more whole grains? Our favorite whole- grain recipes to help you live longer can help!