Common dietary guidelines recommend that you should consume whole grains if possible. Whole grains can be consumed both as whole grains, but also as processed grains that are sliced or ground into whole-wheat flour. The most important thing is that the entire grain remains in the product. This is due to the fact that most of the vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres are in the bran of the grain.
Some of the things that have been proven to lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory conditions of the body. The inflammatory condition can be measured by taking blood samples and examining them for various substances which indicate whether the immune system is well-functioning.
At videnskab.dk, a group of researchers has explained a new study that has investigated the effect of a diet rich in whole grains. In the study, a group of voluntary test subjects ate a customized diet assigned by the researchers for eight consecutive weeks twice.
For the first eight weeks, the diet was rich in whole grains, after which the test subjects had a six-week break and then ended the experiment with another eight weeks of controlled diet. This time, the diet functioned as a control measure and was therefore not rich in whole grains.
During the two test periods, the subjects were measured on a number of different parameters (e.g. weight, cholesterol levels and blood sugar). The intention with the study was to establish what science can say about consuming whole grains in one’s diet.
Whole grains are healthy - especially from rye
This might not surprise some readers. The fact that whole grains are healthy is seen in the study via the test subjects’ inflammatory markers, which declined during the period where they consumed a diet consisting of whole grains. Low inflammatory markers correspond to a reduced inflammatory condition, which can lead to being at a lower risk of developing both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
An advantageous effect was especially seen with the subjects who had consumed a large amount of whole grains from rye.
The researchers had expected that the intestinal bacteria would change, so it came as a surprise when these bacteria remained unchanged. The researchers’ expectations were founded on the fact that intestinal bacteria like fibres and complex carbohydrates, which whole grains are rich in.
The fibres help transform whole grains into fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation of the body. Nevertheless, it is not possible to conclude from this study whether any particular effect, whether positive or negative, occurs to intestinal bacteria when consuming whole grains.
What does it mean?
There is a growing group of people who for various reasons has cut out most of the carbohydrates from their diet. Some theories state that a high intake of carbohydrates increases insulin sensitivity and directly causes type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Some people also feel bloated after consuming carbohydrates. When they then cut out the carbohydrates from their diet, some of them have the positive experience of not feeling bloated anymore.
If you feel bloated and suspect that is has something to do with carbohydrates, it might be a good idea to consider whether you can consume whole grains from other sources than the ones you have been used to.
The researchers conclude from this study that when people switch to a diet that no longer contains bread, people lose the most common source of whole grains and can in that way increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.