A number of epidemiological studies have suggested that diets rich in whole grains are linked to lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and mortality. Quinoa, a pseudo-cereal, is included in the “whole grain” category but the effects of quinoa consumption in humans is not widely studied. Our aim was to undertake a dietary intervention study to investigate the effects of daily consumption of quinoa-enriched bread (providing 20 g quinoa flour) on CVD risk markers compared with a 100% refined wheat bread control. Thirty-seven healthy overweight men (35⁻70 years, body mass index >25 kg/m²) completed a 4-week cross-over intervention, separated by a 4-week washout period. Fasting blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of each intervention period. Continuous glucose monitoring was undertaken at the end of each intervention period. After 4 weeks of intervention, blood glucose and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were significantly lower than baseline in both groups but there was no difference between quinoa and control. Anthropometric measures and other blood metabolites were not different between the two treatments. The cumulative area under the blood glucose curve for the last 4 days of the quinoa intervention tended to be lower than the first 4 days of wash-out (p = 0.054), and was significantly lower than the corresponding period of the wheat treatment (p = 0.039). In conclusion, daily consumption of quinoa in this short-term intervention appears to modify glucose response, but has minimal effects on other CVD risk biomarkers.
Keywords: CVD risk; continuous glucose monitoring; quinoa; whole grain.