This review examines the evidence for the role of whole grain foods and legumes in the aetiology and management of diabetes. MedLine and SilverPlatter ('Nutrition' and 'Food Science FSTA') databases were searched to identify epidemiological and experimental studies relating to the effects of whole grain foods and legumes on indicators of carbohydrate metabolism.
Epidemiological studies strongly support the suggestion that high intakes of whole grain foods protect against the development of type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). People who consume approximately 3 servings per day of whole grain foods are less likely to develop T2DM than low consumers (<3 servings per week) with a risk reduction in the order of 20-30%. Legumes share several qualities with whole grains of potential benefit to glycaemic control including slow release carbohydrate and a high fibre content. There is strong evidence to suggest that eating a variety of whole grain foods and legumes is beneficial in the prevention and management of diabetes. This is compatible with advice from around the world that recommends consumption of a wide range of carbohydrate foods from cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits both for the general population and for people with diabetes.
Cereal grains, legumes and diabetes