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Can diet diminish two diseases at once?

As many people in Denver know, the list of diseases that can leave a person unable to work is a long one. Among the most common medical conditions that cause disabilities preventing a person from working are severe cases of diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, the two conditions often travel together. The 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes are among those with greater risks for developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, the American Heart Association says cardiovascular disease and stroke is the leading cause of death among those with Type 2 diabetes. The good news is that new research shows dietary changes can help people battle back against both diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Toronto evaluated the effects of a whole grain diet and diets enhanced with monounsaturated fatty acids found in canola oil. Whole grain diets have shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of diabetes, while beneficial fatty acids are helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease.

The researchers took two groups of people and adjusted their diets by adding whole wheat bread to one group's daily intake and adding the bread enriched with canola oil to a second group's daily food.

While both groups showed moderate but significant improvement in blood sugar levels, it was the second group (with the canola-enriched diet) that outshone the first group. The first group showed a .31 percent decrease in blood sugar levels, while the second group's levels dropped even more: .47 percent.

Cardiovascular risks also dropped in both groups. In the first group, it dropped 0.53 percent, while in the second group, it dropped by more than twice as much: 1.16 percent.

That's certainly good news for those battling these two conditions at the same time.  

Source:, "Controlling Type II Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease with Diet," Moya Tyler, June 16, 2014

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