Whole grain, bran intake may reduce death risk in diabetic women

NEW YORK Women who consume bran and whole grain foods are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and other causes, researchers reported in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.

The study -- led by senior author Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues -- used data from 7,822 women diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. During up to 26 years of follow-up, 852 deaths occurred, including 295 from cardiovascular disease in the diabetic women. The researchers used data from the food frequency questionnaires to calculate consumption of whole grain and its sub-components of bran and germ, as well as cereal fiber, in grams per day. They then divided the women into five groups based on their consumption of whole grain and its components.

Women who ate the most bran had 9.73 grams (median value) per day; those with the lowest consumption ate less than 0.8 grams (median value) per day.

The result: Women with Type 2 diabetes who ate the most bran had an average 35% lower risk of death from CVD and a 28% reduction in death from all causes than women who ate the least amount.

"To my knowledge, this is the first study of whole grain and its components and risk of death in diabetic patients," said Qi, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and assistant professor of nutrition in the Harvard School of Public Health. "Patients with diabetes face two to three times the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death compared to the general population. These findings suggest a potential benefit of whole grain, and particularly bran, in reducing death and cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients."

The American Heart Association recommends a dietary pattern rich in whole-grain, high fiber foods and that half of an individual's grain intake should come from whole grains.

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