A diet high in fibre, especially the soluble type, leads to improved glycemic control, reduced insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in people with type 2 diabetes according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on May 11.
The cholesterol-lowering effects of soluble fibre are well known, but the effect of fibre on glycemic control has been controversial. To test the effects of a high-fibre diet on glycemic control, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center conducted a randomized, crossover study of 12 men and one woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Participants consumed a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which contained 24 g of fibre (8 g of soluble fibre and 16 g of insoluble fibre), and a high-fibre diet containing 50 g of fibre (25 g of soluble fibre and 25 g of insoluble fibre) for 6 weeks each. During the sixth week of the high-fibre diet, the mean blood glucose level was lower than the moderate-fibre diet. The high-fibre diet also lowered daily blood glucose concentrations by 10%. As expected, the high-fibre diet reduced concentrations of total cholesterol and triglycerides by 6.7% and 10.2%, respectively. The researchers conclude that "dietary guidelines for patients with diabetes should emphasize an overall increase in dietary fibre through the consumption of unfortified foods, rather than the use of fibre supplements." Good sources of soluble fibre include oat bran, oatmeal, psyllium enriched breakfast cereals, citrus fruit, legumes, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
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