You Are What You Eat

Published January 1, 2004

Whole grain foods may be just what the doctor ordered to help prevent diabetes.

Eating three or more servings of whole grains each day may help reduce the risk of developing conditions like high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar that are known to contribute to type 2 diabetes.

It may even help that abdominal obesity–you know, that part of the middle that’s heading south. That’s the word from new research from the Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

This is no surprise to South Beach dieters. Whole grain foods always have been an important part of that diet because of their positive effect on blood chemistry. This new research reinforces the “good carbs, good fats” theory we are hearing about almost daily.

But be aware: When shopping for whole grains, keep in mind that you can’t always tell a book by its cover. While many food products–including most commercial whole-wheat breads–claim to be made with whole grains, they are not. They are often made with refined wheat flour.

To make sure you’re really getting the whole-grain benefit, look for products that list “100% whole wheat” or “whole oats” as the first ingredient on the label. Anything less is not the real thing.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.