According to a recent study, increased consumption of whole-grain foods could significantly reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes and the costs associated with its treatment in Finland.
The findings of the study were published in the journal 'Nutrients'.
"Our study shows that already one serving of full grains as part of the daily diet reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes at the population level and, consequently, the direct diabetes-related costs, when compared to people who do not eat whole-grain foods on a daily basis," said Professor Janne Martikainen from the University of Eastern Finland.
"Over the next ten years, society's potential to achieve cost savings would be from 300 million (-3.3 per cent) to almost one billion (-12.2 per cent) euros in current value, depending on the presumed proportion of whole-grain foods in the daily diet. On the level of individuals, this means healthier years," added Professor Martikainen.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest-growing chronic diseases both in Finland and globally. Healthy nutrition that supports weight management is key to preventing type 2 diabetes. The association of daily consumption of whole-grain foods with a lower risk of diabetes has been demonstrated in numerous studies.
"According to nutrition recommendations, at least 3-6 servings of whole-grain foods should be eaten daily, depending on an individual's energy requirement. One-third of Finns do not eat even one dose of whole grains on a daily basis, and two-thirds have a too low fibre intake," Research Manager Jaana Lindstrom from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said.
The now published study utilised findings from, eg, national follow-up studies, such as the FinHealth Study, to assess the health and economic effects of increased consumption of whole-grain foods on the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
"By combining population-level data on the incidence of type 2 diabetes and the costs of its treatment, as well as published evidence on the effects of how consumption of whole-grain foods reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes, we were able to assess the potential health and economic benefits from both social and individual viewpoints," Martikainen said.