May 26, 2010

Diabetics Cheat Death with Bran

A study published in the May 25, 2010 issue of Circulation finds that people with diabetes who eat more whole grains are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than are people with diabetes who have low whole grain intakes. 

The researchers from Harvard and other Boston-area research institutes studied almost 8,000 diabetic women already enrolled in the Nurses Health Study. They studied the women for 26 years and found that death from cardiovascular disease was significantly higher among the bottom 20% of whole grain food consumers than the top 20%. Specifically, bran consumption was associated with lower mortality; nurses with the highest bran intake and lowest CVD risk ate 9g of bran per day on average, and the lowest bran consumers with higher mortality risk ate less than 1g of bran per day.

This study was unique in that it looked not only at whole grain intake, but also the  individual components of whole grains:
  • Fiber
  • Bran 
  • Germ
The researchers' findings indicate that, "Whole-grain and bran intakes are associated with reduced all-cause and cardiovascular disease-specific mortality in women with diabetes." The results evince a potential benefit of whole-grain intake's ability to reduce mortality and cardiovascular disease risk in people with diabetes.

How can you get more bran in your diet?
  • Eat 100% whole grains that naturally contain bran
  • Avoid refined, processed and "enriched" flours that remove bran during processing
  • Choose whole grain cereals, bran flakes, oat bran, All-bran