Choose high-quality carbs to help prevent diabetes

  • Nutrition
  • Monday, 08 Jun 2020

Replacing calories from fats and proteins with high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains appears to help lower one’s risk of types 2 diabetes. — AFP

Eating high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, appears to be associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. according to new research.

Carried out by researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, United States, the new large-scale investigation analysed data from participants taking part in three existing studies, i.e. 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.

The researchers found that when participants replaced calories from saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, animal protein and vegetable protein with high-quality carbohydrates, they appeared to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Replacing low-quality carbohydrates with saturated fats, although not with other nutrients, was also linked with a lower risk of 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 Dr Kim Braun.

“We looked at whether this effect is different for high-quality carbohydrates and low-quality carbohydrates, which include refined grains, sugary foods and potatoes.”

She added: “These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between carbohydrates from high- and low- quality sources when examining diabetes risk.

“Conducting similar studies in people with various socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities and age will provide insight into how applicable these findings are for other groups.”

Dr Braun presented the findings at Nutrition 2020 Live Online, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition on June 1-4 (2020).

The Mayo Clinic explains that whole grains are either present in their whole form or ground into a flour while retaining all parts of the seed (bran, germ and endosperm).

They can be single foods such as brown rice, or used as ingredients such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole-wheat flour in bread.

Compared with other types of grains, whole grains are higher in fibre and other important nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium.

Examples of whole grains include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread, pasta, or crackers.

Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, certain cancers and other health problems. – AFP Relaxnews

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