Eating whole grains is associated with a decreased risk of prediabetes, a blood sugar elevation that can precede diabetes in adults, according to new research.
Swedish residents who ate food containing more than 59 grams -- roughly two ounces -- of whole grains per day were 27 per cent less likely to become prediabetic compared with residents who ate 30 grams or less, according to the research.
"This is of great importance because prediabetes is increasing," lead author Tina Wirström, a postdoctoral fellow at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden added.
Previous research has linked whole grain rich diets with a decreased risk of diabetes, but the new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition makes the connection to the disease precursor. Whole grains range from oatmeal to popcorn, from brown rice to whole wheat - as long as the entire kernel is consumed.
The study included 5,477 Stockholm residents from 35 to 56 years old without diabetes who kept food diaries of how much whole and refined grains they ate. Researchers measured blood glucose in study participants and followed up 10 years later.
Overall, one in 13 participants became prediabetic, while one in 33 became diabetic, the study found. When researchers took into account the daily amount of whole grains eaten, they found that eating more than 59 grams versus 30 grams of whole grain was associated with a 27 per cent decreased risk of becoming prediabetic.
The association was stronger for men, and those with an increased genetic risk for developing diabetes did not see a difference, researchers found.