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Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Fall-Winter;11(3-4):245-57. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2014.11.245. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

Ancient Wheat Diet Delays Diabetes Development in a Type 2 Diabetes Animal Model.

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Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Tage-Hansens Gade 2, Aarhus C, Denmark.



The main objective was to investigate the physiological effects of ancient wheat whole grain flour diets on the development and progression of type 2 diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, and specifically to look at the acute glycemic responses.


An intervention study was conducted, involving 40 ZDF rats consuming one of 5 different diets (emmer, einkorn, spelt, rye and refined wheat) for 9 weeks. Refined wheat flour and whole grain rye flour were included as negative and positive controls, respectively.


After 9 weeks of intervention, a downregulation of the hepatic genes PPAR-α, GLUT2, and SREBP-1c was observed in the emmer group compared to the control wheat group. Likewise, expression of hepatic SREBP-2 was lower for emmer, einkorn, and rye compared with the control group. Furthermore, spelt and rye induced a low acute glycemic response. The wheat group had higher HDL- and total cholesterol levels.


Ancient wheat diets caused a downregulation of key regulatory genes involved in glucose and fat metabolism, equivalent to a prevention or delay of diabetes development. Spelt and rye induced a low acute glycemic response compared to wheat.

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