Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes with Whole Grains

The seventh and final Nutrigenomix test has to do with the risk of developing diabetes. (see previous six here)

The majority of diabetes being diagnosed is directly related to our lifestyle habits.  This is one of the reasons I chose to start working in private practice.  I was frustrated with seeing people who had chronic diseases, and instead of helping prevent their diseases I was helping manage them.  As rewarding as this work was I want to help prevent the development of diabetes, as there are so many complications that come along with the disease.

This final genetic test is another reminder of how powerful our diet is in helping determine our risk of developing diabetes.  The TCF7L2 gene produces a protein called transcription factor -7 like 2.  The protein affects how the body turns on or off a number of other genes.  While scientists still have a lot to learn about this gene they have determined it is a strong predictor for the development of diabetes.  If you possess the GT or TT variant of this gene you are at greater risk for developing type II diabetes.

I possess this variant putting me at higher risk.

What is reassuring to know is that recent studies prove consuming a diet rich in whole grains, I can reduce my risk of developing diabetes.  Thankfully it’s in an area I am fairly comfortable with!  The list of whole grains is pretty extensive including some I still stumble pronouncing.  They include:

  • amaranth,
  • rice (wild, brown, red)
  • quinoa,
  • oats,
  • rye,
  • barley,
  • triticale,
  • millet,
  • teff,
  • buckwheat,
  • kamut,
  • spelt
  • and wheat.

The most important thing to remember about eating grains is the less processed these grains are the better they are for you.  Note: breads made with any of these authentic whole grains will be dense and might take awhile to become used to. But once you do, you’ll find yourself fuller and most likely will enjoy the taste.

In our house quinoa has taken the place of rice the majority of the time.  My kids call it bubble rice.  It has taken awhile to transition but they really enjoy it now.  I am looking forward to experimenting with some of the less common grains to see what creative dishes I can come up with!

Let me know if you have any good recipes involving amaranth, millet or teff, as these are ones I’m not familiar with cooking.