Eating whole grains could help lower diabetes risk

Large study looks at which types of carbohydrates affect risk of developing type 2 diabetes

A new analysis of more than 200,000 people found that eating high-quality carbohydrates, such as whole grains, was associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

“High intake of carbohydrates has been suggested to be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes,” said research team leader Kim Braun, PhD, from Erasmus University Medical Center and
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We looked at whether this effect is different for high-quality carbohydrates and low-quality carbohydrates, which include refined grains, sugary foods and potatoes.”

Braun will present the new findings as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Braun and colleagues analyzed data from three studies that followed health professionals in the U.S. over time. These included 69,949 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, 90,239 women from the Nurses’ Health Study 2 and 40,539 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Collectively, the studies represented over 4 million years of follow-up, during which almost 12,000 cases of type 2 diabetes cases were documented.

The researchers observed a lower risk of type 2 diabetes when high-quality carbohydrates replaced calories from saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, animal protein and vegetable protein. They also found that replacing low-quality carbohydrates with saturated fats, but not with other nutrients, was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

“These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between carbohydrates from high- and low- quality sources when examining diabetes risk,” said Braun. “Conducting similar studies in people with various socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities and age will provide insight into how applicable these findings are for other groups.”

Due to the cancellation of the Nutrition 2020 meeting, which was to be held in Seattle, this abstract will be presented as part of ASN’s virtual meeting, NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, which will be held from June 1-4, 2020. Contact the media team for more information or register to access the virtual content.

This release may include updated numbers or data that differ from those in the abstract submitted to NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE.

Please note that abstracts presented at NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE were evaluated and selected by a committee of experts but have not generally undergone the same peer review process required for publication in a scientific journal. As such, the findings presented should be considered preliminary until a peer-reviewed publication is available.

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About NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE

NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE is a dynamic virtual event showcasing new research findings and timely discussions on food and nutrition. The online meeting, held June 1-4, 2020, is hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) with support from the ASN Foundation. ASN’s flagship meeting, Nutrition 2020, was canceled due to the impacts of COVID-19. https://meeting.nutrition.org #NutritionLiveOnline

About the American Society for Nutrition (ASN)

ASN is the preeminent professional organization for nutrition research scientists and clinicians around the world. Founded in 1928, the society brings together the top nutrition researchers, medical practitioners, policy makers and industry leaders to advance our knowledge and application of nutrition. ASN publishes four peer-reviewed journals and provides education and professional development opportunities to advance nutrition research, practice and education. http://www.nutrition.org

Find more news briefs and tipsheets at: https://www.eurekalert.org/meetings/nutrition/2020/newsroom/.

Media Contact
Nancy Lamontagne
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