Higher Whole-Grain Intake Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Middle-Aged Men and Women: The Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Cohort
Journal article, 2018

Background: Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern worldwide. Whole grains and cereal fiber may offer protective effects on type 2 diabetes risk. However, few studies have been conducted in cohorts with detailed information on whole-grain cereal intakes and product types and with wide ranges of intake. Objective: We investigated the associations between whole-grain intake, including intakes of different cereal types and products, and the risk of type 2 diabetes in a population with wide and diverse whole-grain intake. Methods: We used data from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort including 55,465 participants aged 50-65 y at baseline. Of these, 7417 participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during follow-up (median: 15 y). Detailed information on the intake of whole-grain products was available from a food-frequency questionnaire, and total whole-grain intake and whole-grain cereal types (wheat, rye, oats) were calculated in grams per day. Associations were examined by using Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for potential confounders. Results: Whole-grain intake was associated with an 11% and 7% lower risk of type 2 diabetes per whole-grain serving (16 g) per day for men and women, respectively [HR (95% CI)-men: 0.89 (0.87, 0.91); women: 0.93 (0.91, 0.96)]. For men, the intake of all whole-grain cereal types investigated (wheat, rye, oats) was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but only wheat and oats intake was significantly associated for women. Among the different whole-grain products, rye bread, whole-grain bread, and oatmeal/muesli were significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes for both men and women. Conclusions: In this cohort study, we found consistent associations between high whole-grain intake and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Overall, an association was found for all different cereals and whole-grain products tested.

nutrition and diet

whole grains


type 2 diabetes



human cohort


Cecilie Kyro

Danish Cancer Research Society Center

Anne Tjonneland

Danish Cancer Research Society Center

Kim Overvad

Aarhus University

Anja Olsen

Danish Cancer Research Society Center

Rikard Landberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Journal of Nutrition

0022-3166 (ISSN) 1541-6100 (eISSN)

Vol. 148 9 1434-1444

Subject Categories

Endocrinology and Diabetes

General Practice

Nutrition and Dietetics





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