Daily consumption of whole grains has been associated in a number of studies with reductions in risk for ischemic stroke, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes. The cereal fiber found in whole grains slows digestion, producing a greater feeling of fullness and helping to prevent obesity, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. In a long-term study of male health professionals published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Fung et al. found that men who ate several servings of whole grains per day over a period of years had a substantially reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and that some risk reduction occurred even in men who were obese.
Male health professionals, age 40-75 years without a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease were recruited in 1986 and followed for 12 years. The 42,898 participants provided information on diet, health and lifestyle using questionnaires that were mailed to them every 2 years. The classification of "whole grains" included brown rice, dark breads, whole-grain ready-to-eat cereals, and other cereal foods. The subjects were divided into quintiles of whole grain consumption, with the lowest quintile eating 0.4 servings of whole grains per day and the highest quintile averaging 3.2 servings per day. Subjects with higher whole grain intakes tended to be leaner and more physically active, to consume less fat, and were less likely to smoke or have hypertension.
Between 1986 and 1998, 1197 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed in the group. In comparison to those in the bottom quintile of whole grain intake, those in the top quintile had a 42% decreased risk for type 2 diabetes. Obese persons who were physically active and had high whole grain intakes had a 52% lower risk of diabetes than inactive obese persons in the lowest whole grain intake category. The high fiber content of the bran fraction of whole grains delays gastric emptying and slows the release of glucose into the circulation, thus reducing insulin response after meals. This process may also be responsible for lower obesity levels among high consumers of whole grains because a longer period of satiety follows meals. Magnesium, which has also been shown to improve glucose and insulin response, is present in higher amounts in whole grains than in refined grains.
Elizabeth Horowitz | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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