Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Eating Whole Grains Pays Off

Study Shows They May Lower Risk for the Metabolic Syndrome
WebMD Health News

Feb. 19, 2004 -- New research shows that when it comes to type 2 diabetes, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Tufts University researchers report that eating whole-grain foods, especially fiber-rich cereals, appears to improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of the metabolic syndrome.

Whole-grain foods have already been found to help protect against heart disease and certain cancers, and the newly published study is one of several that indicates there is a protective role for whole grains against a constellation of major risk factors that lead to metabolic syndrome -- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the development of type 2 diabetes.

"I think people understand the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to whole grains the message has pretty much been lost," researcher Nicola M. McKeown, PhD, tells WebMD. "That is in part because consumers don't really understand what whole-grain foods are."

At Least Three Servings a Day

McKeown and colleagues examined the association between eating different types of dietary carbohydrates on a group of health conditions linked to an increase risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, known collectively as the metabolic syndrome.

It is estimated that the syndrome, which includes disturbed glucose metabolism, abnormal blood cholesterol, central body fat distribution, and high blood pressure, affects 20%-25% of adults in the U.S. It is also said that diet plays a role in development of the syndrome, which places individuals at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that greater consumption of whole-grain, cereal fiber, and diets with lower glycemic index were associated with better insulin sensitivity and were less likely to be affected by insulin resistant or the metabolic syndrome. Other sources of carbohydrates, including refined grains, appeared to neither protect against nor promote the metabolic syndrome.

Diets with a high glycemic index cause a sudden and drastic jump in blood sugar levels. With low-glycemic diets blood sugar rise more gradually. As a general rule, the same low-fat, high-fiber fare -- fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and legumes -- often advised to manage weight and help prevent diabetes and other health conditions, have a low glycemic index. Conversely, starchy and processed foods such as potatoes, breads, and cereals usually have a high glycemic index.

The investigation included 2,834 people participating in the ongoing Framingham health study. The findings are reported in the February issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner