Less-processed whole grains may improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

Credit: Unsplash+

Introduction to Whole Grains

Whole grains are grains that contain the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. These grains provide more nutrients and fiber compared to refined grains.

Consumption of whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been associated with a reduced risk of various diseases.

Impact of Milling on Whole Grains

Milling is a process in which grains like oats, wheat, rice, and corn are ground into smaller pieces or flours to enhance their taste, reduce cooking time, and create food products.

However, this process can affect the nutritional composition of the grains.

Study Aim and Design

Scientists from the University of Otago conducted a study to examine the effects of whole-grain processing, specifically milling, on blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The participants in the study were assigned to two interventions, each lasting for two weeks. They were instructed to replace their usual grain foods with intervention foods.

The intervention foods consisted of nutrient-matched whole-grain products made from wheat, oats, and brown rice, varying in their level of processing.

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

Throughout the study, the participants wore continuous blood sugar monitoring systems to track their blood sugar levels.

Study Findings

Out of the 31 adults with type 2 diabetes who participated in the trial, 28 (90%) completed both interventions. The researchers found no significant differences in the biomarkers of whole-grain intake and energy intake.

The study revealed that consuming less-processed whole-grain foods resulted in 9% lower blood sugar levels after breakfast and 6% lower blood sugar levels after all meals, compared to consuming finely milled grains.

Additionally, the variability of blood sugar levels throughout the day was reduced.

The researchers also observed a difference in body weight changes between the two interventions.

During the intervention involving finely milled grains, body weight increased, while it decreased during the less-processed whole-grain diet.

Implications and Recommendations

The findings suggest that replacing refined grains with less-processed whole-grain foods over a two-week period can lead to improved blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The study highlights the importance of promoting the consumption of minimally processed whole grains in dietary recommendations for individuals with diabetes.


The study conducted by researchers at the University of Otago demonstrates the benefits of consuming less-processed whole-grain foods in improving blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

By choosing minimally processed whole grains, people with diabetes can make a positive impact on their blood sugar levels and overall health.

The research was published in Diabetes Care and led by Sebastian Åberg et al.

Copyright © 2023 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.