Increasing dietary fiber can help reduce risk of diabetes

Data in a European study on diet and nutrition also showed that fiber derived from cereal had a greater benefit than fiber from vegetables and fruit.

By Stephen Feller

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Increasing dietary fiber may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in addition to reducing BMI and helping to keep weight down, according to a new study.

The data also showed that cereal fiber, the most consumed dietary fibers in the world, reduced the chances of developing type 2 diabetes more than fiber from fruits and vegetables


"We are not certain why this might be, but potential mechanisms could include feeling physically full for longer, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine," said Dagfinn Aune, a PhD student affiliated with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Imperial College London who analyzed data for the study, in a press release.

"All these mechanisms could lead to a lower BMI and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As well as helping keep weight down, dietary fiber may also affect diabetes risk by other mechanisms – for instance improving control of blood sugar and decreasing insulin peaks after meals, and increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin."

Researchers used data collected as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, or EPIC, study that included more than 350,000 participants. From this, 12,403 verified cases of type 2 diabetes were found and compared with a random pull of 16,835 participants in the study as a control group.


Participants in the study who consumed more than 26 grams of fiber per day were 18 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those with 19 or less grams of fiber per day. A higher body mass index canceled out what appeared to be the benefits of a higher fiber diet. Based on the data, researchers also said participants in the EPIC study showed that cereal fiber had a three percent greater effect than vegetable fiber.

"This work adds to the growing evidence of the health benefits of diets rich in fiber, in particular cereal fiber," said Nick Wareham, Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, adding that "public health measures globally to increase fiber consumption are therefore likely to play an important part in halting the epidemics of obesity and of type 2 diabetes."

The study is published in Diabetologia.

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