Why are Whole Grains Good for Diabetes?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

There is evidence to show that people who include wholegrains in their diet are less likely to get Type 2 diabetes


While we do not know the exact reason, it is believed that eating whole grains can help you control your blood glucose levels. The bran and fibre in whole grains takes a longer time to digest. This leads to a lower and slower spike in your blood glucose levels, thereby putting less stress on your body to produce insulin.

In addition, wholegrains are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes[2].

Eating more wholegrains also:

  • helps you to lose weight

  • lowers your bad cholesterol

  • increases your good cholesterol

To reap these benefits, add more wholegrains to your meals!

5 Tips for Adding More Wholegrains to Your Meals

  1. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare team before you make any change to your meal plan.

  2. Instead of eating refined starchy carbohydrates, choose wholegrain carbohydrates. For example, replace white rice with brown rice and white bread with wholemeal bread.

  3. Make the change slowly. Give yourself time to get used to the taste of whole grains.

    For example:

    • Mix brown rice with white rice when cooking for your family.

    • Make an interesting sandwich using one slice of white bread and another slice of wholemeal bread.

    • Have wholegrain cereals (rolled oats) with low fat milk for breakfast.

    • Try a variety of whole grains to make your snacks and meals more interesting (e.g. wholegrain chapatti, wholemeal pasta and biscuits).

  4. Read food labels when you shop. Foods high in whole grains usually has "wholegrain" appearing as the first item on the ingredient list.

    Or look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol when doing your grocery shopping.

  5. When eating out, choose hawker centres and dining outlets that serve whole grains such as brown rice. Look out for the ‘wholegrain identifier’ label which is usually displayed at the stall front.



  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.) Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes.
    Retrieved Oct 2016 from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/#diet

  2. Ludwig, D. S. (2002, May 8). The glycemic index: physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association, 287(18), p.2414-243
    Retrieved Oct 2016 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11988062                                      

Contributed By: Health Promotion Board (HPB)

Why are Wholegrains Good for Diabetes Prevention by Health Promotion Board, 24 Nov 2020, www.healthhub.sg.

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