Whole Grain Breakfast Cereals Reduce Diabetes Risk

Those who eat breakfast cereal each day are far less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who do not according to a recent study published in the journal Obesity in December, 2007.

Researchers at the Harvard medical school in Boston, using data from over 20,000 individuals from the Physicians’ Health Study, found a correlation between breakfast cereal consumption and a reduction in the risk of type-2 diabetes. The relationship was stronger amongst those eating whole-grain cereals rather than processed cereal products.

Whole-grain cereal eaters reduced their diabetes risk by as much as 45% compared to those that did not eat cereal at all. Those who consumed heavily processed cereals had a negligible, non-significant reduction in type-2 diabetes risk.

Researchers believe that it is the dietary fiber in whole-grain cereals that explains much of the relationship because fiber can help increase insulin sensitivity and slows down the release of sugar into the blood stream. Heavily processed cereals are often lacking in dietary fiber and tend to contain large amounts of added sugar.

According to the authors: “Dietary fiber may slow the absorption of nutrients in the gut, thereby attenuating the glycemic response to ingested carbohydrates. Reduced blood glucose decreases the quantity of insulin required to clear glucose from the blood, and this, in turn, may lead to up-regulation of insulin receptors on cells, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity.”

The report comes on the heels of several other studies that have found consumption of fibre rich whole-grains reduce the risk of not only diabetes, but many other diseases such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, and heart disease.

Approximately a third of adults regularly consume cereals rich in whole grains while almost a quarter of adults choosing to skip breakfast altogether.