Diabetics Benefit From Nutritious Whole Grains

By Moss Greene

My mother was a diabetic and at the time she was diagnosed, it was called "adult onset diabetes". Do you know why they changed the name from "adult onset" to "type 2"? The sad truth is it can no longer be called "adult," because the deadly type 2 diabetes is now showing up in children.

Diabetes has increased dramatically over the past century. Today about 23 million Americans are diabetic and one quarter of those are undiagnosed. Whereas people don't generally die of diabetes, they can go blind or lose their limbs. Also, it often leads to heart disease, and heart disease is our biggest premature killer.

Native Americans, who at one time had no diabetes, now have the highest incidence in the world. What happened? Traditionally, they lived on an all-natural, unrefined diet. Once they were moved to reservations, their only choice was a modern "white man's diet" of refined foods. Since then, there's been a huge jump in the incidence of diabetes among native Americans.

Among the Pima Indians in Southwest Arizona, 40% of the population has type 2 diabetics. Interestingly enough, they're eating many of the same foods that they were eating on their traditional diet. Only today, they're using refined versions of those foods - refined corn products, refined sugars and refined grains.

Although we've known this information for many years, a peer review study published in the August 2002 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proves that whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat, can help protect people from diabetes.

The team of researchers from Simmons College, Harvard Medical School, followed the eating habits of 43,000 men (ages 40 to 75) for about 12 years. Although they all started out healthy, nearly 3% developed diabetes in just over a decade.

The men who ate the least amount of whole grains had a 60% higher incidence of developing type 2 diabetes than those eating the highest level of whole grains. Even obese men who ate the highest amount of whole grains, and were also physically active, developed 52% less type 2 diabetes.

Two other recent studies focusing on women and whole grains confirmed these same Harvard findings: whole grains can help protect from diabetes and possibly other degenerative diseases.

Low Glycemic Carboyhydrates

Whole grains are low glycemic carbohydrates. This means lower blood sugar and less insulin production. Refined grains are high glycemic carbohydrates; they more than double blood sugar levels. This causes an insulin surge to clear sugar out of the blood. After a while, the body is no longer capable of handling this blood sugar onslaught. That's when a person becomes a type 2 diabetic. The Harvard research team's conclusion to this study was to recommend that people eat more whole grains, stating that, whole grain products "have the potential to reduce substantially the incidence of type 2 diabetes and possibly other chronic diseases when sustained over time."

Makes a lot of sense to me. Whole grains are in their natural, nutritious form, just the way they were meant to be. We can't fool Mother Nature." And, in her never-to-be-humble opinion, she doesn't mind telling us, "I told you so!"

Moss Greene is the Nutrition Host at Bellaonline.com. Visit her
web site at http://www.bellaonline.com/site/nutrition to
find out how to look better, feel your best and have more
energy - naturally. Subscribe now to the News You Can Use
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