Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t eat wheat? That it’s not good for your health? Maybe they told you wheat was the reason why you have diabetes, or why your child has diabetes? Even if they didn’t mention diabetes, maybe they told you that it made you fat and that it caused inflammation in your body... Well, maybe they were right. Maybe wheat really is bad for you and your health. But maybe not for the reasons that most people think! Let’s dive into the science to see what we can learn about this plant called wheat...
Wheat products are highly nutritious
That's right, whole grains are healthy. Fiber rich and containing nutrients not found in other grain varieties, whole grains have a role to play in a healthy diet. One recent study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health compared a diet high in whole grains with one that contained refined grains. Researchers found that the diet rich in whole grains lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol more than the refined-grain diet.
Whole grains (like wheat products) are essential to a healthy diet
To understand how we can use grains like wheat products to help manage our diabetes, start by understanding the relationship between grain and sugar. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are chains of sugar molecules that digest differently in our stomachs - some break down more quickly, some more slowly. Grains are our bodies' preferred fuel source, but they don't give us instant energy like processed sugars do.
Diabetes is linked to many other diseases, but not wheat
A new study that monitored the eating habits of 120,000 adults found no relationship between consumption of whole grains, including wheat, and incidence of type 2 diabetes. This is in line with a 2015 systematic review published in Nutrition Reviews, which investigated how high-carbohydrate diets (including high intake of whole grains) can reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The systematic review found that there was no connection between consumption of whole grains and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Bodies do change over time and with disease states
All humans experience their share of changes in physical, mental, and emotional function as they go through life. An important indicator of healthy aging is how our cells respond to glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from the breakdown of carbs like breads and pasta.
Recent studies have found that people with Type 2 Diabetes who consume high-fiber wheat or rye bread after eating a big meal are less likely to develop high blood sugar levels than those who do not eat either form of bread.
Substituting high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains can help prevent or reverse some diseases
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that a diet low in sugar and high in high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains had significantly better results for people with type 2 diabetes. Plus, a high-carbohydrate diet can help prevent or reverse some diseases.