May 10, 2010 -- People with diabetes who eat plenty of bran-rich whole grains appear to have a reduced risk of death from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular causes, a new study shows.
Researchers from Harvard University followed almost 8,000 nurses with type 2 diabetes for almost three decades.
They found that women who ate the most bran had a 35% lower risk of death from heart disease and a 28% lower risk of death from all causes than women who ate the least.
Compared to people without diabetes, diabetic people have two to three times the risk of heart disease and early death.
The new research suggests eating a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains can help lower this risk, American Heart Association spokesman Robert Eckel, MD, tells WebMD.
Eckel is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver.
"Many diabetics still believe they should limit carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates," he says. "Certainly refined grains and simple sugars raise blood sugar and should be limited. But it looks like eating whole grains is not only safe, but beneficial."