Diabetes Prevention with Whole Grains
A year ago, I shared with you my father’s diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in a blog post. I told you how genetic predisposition was the culprit, passed down from one generation to the next, along with boxes of old photographs and quilts. Surprising to think that a man who is careful about what he eats and gets plenty of exercise might still have to take medication to regulate his blood glucose levels.
I am pleased to report that within just a few months of his diagnosis, he’d impressed his doctor and nutritionist with his ability to nip the disease in the proverbial bud, returning him to pre-diabetic status. We are all so proud! (That's my dad and my brother, in the photo.) But to what does he owe this success?
Outside of the obvious support of family and doctors, he contributes it to whole grains. One of the very first (and as he recalls, the easiest) change to make was the switch to whole grains. Taking hints first from me, then from his nutritionist, he and my mother quickly replaced foods like white rice, marshmallowy white bread and white pasta, with brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas. Before long my parents even headed into more adventurous territory, with grains like quinoa and freekeh.
I know you’ll agree that his story is heartening, but was it too good to be true? Was his health improvement really tied to the whole grains? Can this work for others too? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study just last month that made my whole family sigh in relief. We now have evidence showing that the addition of more whole grains into a healthy diet can slow the progression from normal glucose tolerance to pre-diabetes.
As my brothers, my children and I all face the uncertainty of our own path toward this diagnosis, I finally have the ammunition I need to remind them, I told you so! All along, I’ve been encouraging them to eat more whole grains, but my brothers especially have been slow to convert. Armed with this study, I can show them that it’s not just their older sister needlessly nagging them about what they eat but real fact-based information -- shared only with sisterly love and affection, of course. (Karen)