Increased consumption of whole grains could significantly reduce the economic impact of type 2 diabetes

According to a study done by the University of Eastern Finland and Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, a higher intake of whole grains could help reduce type 2 diabetes incidence and lower costs. These findings were published in Nutrients.
Our study found that one serving of whole grains per day reduces type 2 diabetes incidence and costs. This is in contrast to those who don't eat whole grains on a daily basis. The society's potential for cost savings over the next ten year would range from 300 million (-3.3%) up to nearly one billion (-12.2%), euros in current value depending on the amount of whole grains consumed daily. This means that individuals will live longer and healthier lives," Professor Janne Martikainen, University of Eastern Finland, says.

Type 2 diabetes is the most rapidly-growing chronic disease in Finland. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating healthy nutrition and weight management. Numerous studies have shown that whole grains are associated with lower diabetes risk.

According to nutrition guidelines, a minimum of 3-6 whole grains should be consumed daily. This depends on the individual's energy requirements. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, a third of Finns don't eat whole grains at all and two thirds have too little fibre.

This study used findings from national follow-up studies such as the FinHealth Study to evaluate the economic and health effects of increasing consumption of whole grains on the prevention or development of type 2 diabetes.

Martikainen states that by combining population-level data about type 2 diabetes incidence and costs, and published evidence about the effects of whole grains on type 2 diabetes incidence, Martikainen was able to evaluate the potential economic and health benefits from both individual and social perspectives.