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Carbs and Type 2 Diabetes

Yes, you can still eat grains and avoid diabetes.

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Diabetes and carbs

Since diabetes is largely a condition attributed to poor blood sugar control, it’s easy to see why many people assume that taking carbohydrates off the menu is the best way to avoid the disease. But scientific evidence suggests that as long as you choose the right types of carbs, you can still enjoy that sandwich.

Case in point: Harvard researchers reported in The BMJ that among 194,784 adults who were taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, those in the highest category for total whole-grain consumption had a 29% lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared with those in the lowest category. For instance, consuming one or more servings a day of whole-grain breakfast cereal or dark bread was associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes (19% and 21%, respectively) compared with consuming less than one serving a month.

The risk reductions seemed to plateau at roughly two servings a day for total whole-grain intake, including oatmeal and brown rice. The study was observational, so its findings cannot establish cause and effect, but they make an argument for not demonizing all carbs in the battle against diabetes.

See also: 5 Ways to Eat to Beat Diabetes

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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