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Diet and Carbs Study
Wholegrain Foods Improve Insulin Levels and Obesity
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Diet & Carbs Study

The findings help to explain how whole-grain foods may protect against several chronic disorders and point to the importance of including several daily servings of these foods in the diet. Current dietary guidelines recommend about nine daily servings of carbohydrates for adults, mostly in the form if whole-grain foods.

However, according to Dr. Paul Jacques, the study's lead author, more research is needed into how carbohydrates affect insulin levels and obesity and the subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Some health experts blame America's obesity epidemic on carbohydrates, pointing out that rates of obesity have risen in tandem with carbohydrate consumption over the past 30 years. Others argue that whole-grain foods, which are high in fiber, vitamin E and magnesium, do not have the same effect on insulin as refined carbohydrates that have been stripped of many nutrients.

"The importance of understanding the role of different carbohydrate sources in the development of insulin resistance is becoming even more critical because Americans appear to be increasing their intake of dietary carbohydrates," Jacques explained.

"Our results suggest that higher whole-grain intakes might help prevent development of insulin resistance, and the influence of whole grains may be strongest in those who are overweight and have the greatest risk of insulin resistance," he said.

The researchers analyzed detailed dietary information and blood samples from study volunteers over a 4-year period, and divided individuals into four groups according to their intake of whole-grain foods. Those with the highest intake of whole grains also tended to have healthier lifestyle habit such as moderate alcohol and meat consumption, not smoking, taking a multivitamin pill and eating lots of fruit and vegetables.

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Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002; 76:390-398

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