Khorasan Wheat May Reduce Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes


Researchers found Kamut khorasan wheat produced significant improvements to key blood markers in type 2 diabetes patients.

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The head-to-head comparison between khorasan wheat and modern wheat continues in a new study out of Italy. Past research has suggested khorasan wheat may reduce cardiovascular risk in patients suffering from acute coronary syndrome, and now there is new evidence it may also improve the risk profile of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Kamut International (Big Sandy, MT) recently announced findings of a new study published in The European Journal of Nutritionthat found its Kamut-brand khorasan wheat produced significant improvements to total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, glucose, and insulin in adults with T2DM. Subjects consuming a modern wheat diet, on the other hand, experienced no significant effects to these same markers.

Researchers also found patients consuming khorasan wheat presented a significant decrease in inflammatory markers, compared to a significant increase in inflammatory markers after the modern wheat intervention.

This is the third human study comparing the effects of Kamut khorasan wheat with modern wheat on non-infectious chronic diseases.

“There are many long-terms risks of low-carbohydrate diets, which include mineral, vitamin, and fiber deficiencies, and increased cardiovascular risk and related mortality,” said Bob Quinn, PhD, founder of Kamut International. “Although evidence is inconclusive for an ideal amount of carbohydrates in the diet of diabetics, as this study proves, it is certain that the beneficial effects attributable to carbohydrates are dependent on the quality of the source.”


Study Details

The randomized, double-blind, crossover study included 21 T2DM patients with a mean age of 64.4 +/- 10.9 years who were randomized to consume either products made from ancient khorasan wheat or modern wheat for eight weeks. Wheat products included bread, pasta, crackers, and biscuits, and the foods were all made from semi-whole flour from organic wheat. There was an 8-week washout period between interventions.

A laboratory analysis, including blood serum samples, was performed at the beginning and end of each intervention phase of the study.

Researchers found that participant metabolic risk profile improved only in the khorasan intervention, as shown by a mean reduction in total cholesterol (–3.7%), LDL cholesterol (–3.4%), insulin (–16.3%), and blood glucose (–9.1%). There was also a significant reduction in vascular endothelial growth factor, interleukin-1ra, and circulating levels of reactive oxygen species, as well as a significant increase of total antioxidant capacity (+6.3%). Participants on the modern wheat intervention experienced no similar significant differences between baseline and the end of the intervention phase.

“A replacement diet with ancient khorasan wheat consumption provided additive protection in reducing total and LDL cholesterol, insulin, blood glucose, ROS production, and some inflammatory risk factors, which are all key factors warranting of control in secondary prevention of T2DM compared to a diet with products made with modern wheat,” concluded the researchers.


Read more:

Can an Ancient Grain Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Patients?

Move Over, Gluten-Free. Ancient Grains Are Back!

Xylooligosaccharide Prebiotic Improves Gut Flora in Pre-Diabetic Subjects, Study Suggests


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Whittaker A et al., “A khorasan wheat-based replacement diet improves risk profile of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): a randomized crossover trial,” The European Journal of Nutrition. Published online February 8, 2016.

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