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

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


Aim: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating
  • Glycemic Index
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triticum*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lipids