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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Aug;24(8):837-44. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.01.007. Epub 2014 Jan 28.

A whole-grain cereal-based diet lowers postprandial plasma insulin and triglyceride levels in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

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Institute of Food Science, National Research Council, Via Roma 64, 83100 Avellino, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University, Naples, Italy.
Institute of Food Science, National Research Council, Via Roma 64, 83100 Avellino, Italy.
Department of Food Science, BioCentre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Metabolic Unit, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Research Council, Padova, Italy.



Until recently, very few intervention studies have investigated the effects of whole-grain cereals on postprandial glucose, insulin and lipid metabolism, and the existing studies have provided mixed results. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 12-week intervention with either a whole-grain-based or a refined cereal-based diet on postprandial glucose, insulin and lipid metabolism in individuals with metabolic syndrome.


Sixty-one men and women age range 40-65 years, with the metabolic syndrome were recruited to participate in this study using a parallel group design. After a 4-week run-in period, participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week diet based on whole-grain products (whole-grain group) or refined cereal products (control group). Blood samples were taken at the beginning and end of the intervention, both fasting and 3 h after a lunch, to measure biochemical parameters. Generalized linear model (GLM) was used for between-group comparisons. Overall, 26 participants in the control group and 28 in the whole-grain group completed the dietary intervention. Drop-outs (five in the control and two in the whole-grain group) did not affect randomization. After 12 weeks, postprandial insulin and triglyceride responses (evaluated as average change 2 and 3 h after the meal, respectively) decreased by 29% and 43%, respectively, in the whole-grain group compared to the run-in period. Postprandial insulin and triglyceride responses were significantly lower at the end of the intervention in the whole-grain group compared to the control group (p = 0.04 and p = 0.05; respectively) whereas there was no change in postprandial response of glucose and other parameters evaluated.


A twelve week whole-grain cereal-based diet, compared to refined cereals, reduced postprandial insulin and triglycerides responses. This finding may have implications for type 2 diabetes risk and cardiovascular disease.


Cereal fiber; Glucose metabolism; Insulin metabolism; Lipids; Whole-grains

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