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Otago researcher investigating how grains may affect blood sugar and diabetes


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Grain and diabetes image
Dr Andrew Reynolds

An up-and-coming University of Otago scientist has been funded by the Otago Southland Diabetes Research Trust to undertake cutting-edge research into how the processing of whole grains affects blood-sugar levels of people with diabetes.

The Trust has awarded funding for one year to Dr Andrew Reynolds of the Department of Human Nutrition and the Edgar National Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research. Dr Reynolds is the first researcher to be funded by the Trust, which is managed by Perpetual Guardian.

Dr Reynolds says the project is a great opportunity to research important questions relevant to the many people with type-2 diabetes or pre-diabetes in New Zealand.

“This is an exciting opportunity to pursue research that can inform health advice and food manufacturing in New Zealand.”

The study aims to determine if the physical state of grains – ranging from finely ground flour to intact whole grains – changes how they are digested into the body.

“We will measure blood-sugar response to wholegrain products that have been developed here at the University of Otago, to see what role the structure of the grain makes,” he says.

The products are breads, crackers and breakfast cereal.

Dr Reynolds says there is growing evidence that it is not just the amount of grain-based carbohydrates eaten, but the level of processing that is important for how the body responds to food.

“In the long term, how people with type-2 diabetes respond to different kinds of carbohydrates is crucial to their overall health.

“We are very keen to get local people with this condition to take part in our trial so we can learn what forms of grain-based food might be best in controlling their blood-sugar levels.”

Dr Reynolds is working with Dr Lisa Te Morenga and Professor Jim Mann on this study as well as researchers from the Department of Food Science. The project has funding from both the Riddet Institute and the Baking Industry Research Trust of New Zealand.

People wishing to take part in the trial should contact

For more information, please contact:

Dr Andrew Reynolds
Tel: 03 479 5690

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