Researchers at the US government science agency Agriculture Research Service (ARS) say the results from a study of over 2000 people suggest at least three or more servings of wholegrain foods each day could reduce chances of developing 'metabolic syndrome.'
Metabolic syndrome is a condition marked by a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, poor blood sugar control, low HDL "good" cholesterol and high blood fats. The constellation of health conditions increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Classed as an epidemic by the UN-backed World Health Organisation, at least 171 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, a figure likely to more than double to 366 million by 2030.
The ARS findings build on a body of growing evidence that suggests eating wholegrain cereals could bring a string of health benefits.
Food makers are already reaching out to consumers with products that market the health benefits of such foods rich, using new approval on a wholegrain health claim cleared by a number of countries, but not yet at a European level.
Last year the US Food and Drug Administration cleared claim supporting their reduction of heart disease risk and earlier this year Sweden's voluntary health claims code, gave food makers a similar approval.
The ARS findings are based on an ARS-funded study, headed up by Nicola McKeown from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, US of food consumption data and medical tests from 2,834 volunteers reported in Diabetes Care.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates fat and sugar metabolism. In Type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body cannot correctly use it. The result is that unhealthy levels of sugar build up in the blood, instead of energising muscles and other body parts.
The health benefits observed among those who consumed three or more servings of whole-grain foods each day included better insulin metabolism. Those with metabolic syndrome tend toward insulin resistance.
Foods that have at least 2.5 grammes of fibre per serving are considered to be a "good source of fiber" and can make that claim, under FDA rules, on the front of the wrapper.