Ancient Grains Help Improve Blood Sugar, Cholesterol Levels In Diabetes Patients: Study

What is the best grain suited for you if you have diabetes? A new study revealed that the use of ancient grains in the diet could improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes.

“Grains are prominent components of the daily dietary intake of diabetes patients. Current guidelines recommend a balanced diet, with a sufficient intake of carbohydrates, preferring those with a lower glycemic index. Since grains are the principal source of carbohydrates in human diets, interest in the health effects of grain consumption is increasing,” researchers wrote in the latest study.

For the study, the team reviewed 29 randomized controlled trials that estimated the benefits of ancient grains such as oats, brown rice, buckwheat, chia, Job’s Tears, barley, Khorasan, and millet for people with type 2 diabetes.

They found that oats, brown rice, and millet could improve various diabetes markers such as insulin levels, fasting blood sugar, and Hemoglobin A1C and are associated with improved cholesterol levels, indicating better heart health.

“A variety of ancient grains have been tested on patients with T2DM, with potentially positive results on health outcomes at least for oats, and possibly brown rice and millet,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

Compared to all the grains evaluated in the study, oats showed a significant association with improved cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels. Although brown rice showed improved HbA1c and body mass index (BMI), there was no significant improvement in other blood sugar markers and cholesterol levels. Millets showed significant benefits on body weight, but other confounding factors in the included studies must have affected the results.

According to the researchers, the lack of genetic modification and higher levels of beneficial phytochemicals and fibers in ancient grains make them favorable grains for consumption by diabetes patients.

“However, these findings lack the strength needed to formulate dietary recommendations, primarily due to heterogeneity across studies, limited sample sizes, and suboptimal methodological quality of some trials,” the researchers cautioned.

“For adults affected by diabetes mellitus type 2, the use of oats may improve lipidic profile. Further experimental designs are needed in interventional research to better understand the effects of ancient grains on diabetes health outcomes,” they added.

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