- Diabetes is a strong independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and these two conditions often coexist, sharing common modifiable risk factors.1
- Although carbohydrate restriction for reducing the glycemic load is of paramount importance in the prevention and management of diabetes, a high fiber diet has an equally important role.
- Recent research indicates that a high dietary fiber consumption can increase insulin sensitivity and thus decreasing the blood sugar.2 High-fiber diets may protect against obesity and CVD by lowering insulin levels.3
- Increased intake of bran and whole-grains that are high in fiber has been shown to reduce deaths from heart disease in people with diabetes and is highly recommended.4 The benefit is particularly high for viscous soluble fiber. 5
- Increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, and soluble and insoluble fiber is associated with improved glucose metabolism in both diabetic and nondiabetic individuals.6 Such a diet is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.7-9
- Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables are recommended for people with diabetes and the proscription of fruits (as practiced in many parts of India) for these people cannot be justified.
- Psyllium (Metamucil) supplementation has been shown to lower A1C concentration and might be beneficial in people with diabetes with or without medications.10
- Increasing cereal fiber in the diet may be an effective means of reducing the risk of diabetes, a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in Asian Indians.11
1. Liu S, Manson JE, Lee IM, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. Oct 2000;72(4):922-928.
2. Weickert MO, Pfeiffer AF. Metabolic effects of dietary fiber consumption and prevention of diabetes. J Nutr. Mar 2008;138(3):439-442.
3. Ludwig DS, Pereira MA, Kroenke CH, et al. Dietary fiber, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adults. JAMA. Oct 27 1999;282(16):1539-1546.
4. He M, van Dam RM, Rimm E, Hu FB, Qi L. Whole-grain, cereal fiber, bran, and germ intake and the risks of all-cause and cardiovascular disease-specific mortality among women with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Circulation. May 25 2010;121(20):2162-2168.
5. Vuksan V, Rogovik AL, Jovanovski E, Jenkins AL. Fiber facts: benefits and recommendations for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Curr Diab Rep. Oct 2009;9(5):405-411.
6. Wolfram T, Ismail-Beigi F. Efficacy of high-fiber diets in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocr Pract. Jan-Feb 2011;17(1):132-142.
7. van Dam R M, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB. Dietary patterns and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in U.S. men. Annals of internal medicine. Feb 5 2002;136(3):201-209.
8. Montonen J, Knekt P, Harkanen T, et al. Dietary patterns and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Am J Epidemiol. Feb 1 2005;161(3):219-227.
9. Hodge A M, English DR, O’Dea K, Giles GG. Dietary patterns and diabetes incidence in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. Mar 15 2007;165(6):603-610.
10. Bajorek SA, Morello CM. Effects of dietary fiber and low glycemic index diet on glucose control in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann Pharmacother. Nov 2010;44(11):1786-1792.
11. Krishnan S, Rosenberg L, Singer M, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cereal fiber intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in US black women. Arch Intern Med. Nov 26 2007;167(21):2304-2309.