Type 2 Diabetes and Fiber, A Good Combination

2012-10-16 08:01

Fiber is an often neglected and maligned dietary factor, but it can have a significant impact on control of type 2 diabetes. Several recent studies have examined the relationship between type 2 diabetes and fiber and found that it's a good combination, and one that could even extend your life.

Fiber is good for type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you are probably familiar with terms such as hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose levels and how important they are on a daily basis when trying to manage your diabetes. Fiber, a non-digestible dietary factor that is often associated with diarrhea and constipation, can play a significant role in helping you with diabetes management.

For example, consider the findings of a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The reviewers evaluated 15 randomized studies published over a 20-year period that involved an increase in dietary fiber and its impact on HbA1c and/or fasting blood glucose.

The HbA1c level reflects a person's average blood glucose control over a six to 12 week period, while a fasting blood glucose level is a snapshot in time, reflecting the amount of sugar in the blood after at least an eight-hour fast.

In the meta-analysis, the reviewers found that fiber can reduce both fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels. They concluded that "increasing dietary fiber in the diet of patients with type 2 diabetes is beneficial and should be encouraged as a disease management strategy."

What if eating more fiber could extend your life? A new study published in PLoS One reported on 6,192 individuals with type 2 diabetes who underwent dietary evaluation and were followed up for a mean of 9.2 years. The authors found that among normal weight people with diabetes, high fiber intake was associated with a decreased risk of dying, while high glycemic load, sugar, and carbohydrate intake were associated with an increased risk of dying.


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