The Effects of Fiber Intake on Diabetes Management

Organic Cooked oatmeal with blueberriesWhat role does dietary fiber intake play in the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes? A study led by researchers at the Fudan University School of Public Health in Shanghai, China set out to explore this question. The researchers argue that while the association between dietary habits and glycemic control in patients with diabetes is well known, more information is needed about the link between high-fiber diets and diabetes management.

The study, “Dietary fiber intake is associated with HbA1c level among prevalent patients with type 2 diabetes in Pudong New Area of Shanghai, China,” was published online ahead of print in October 2012. It appears in the journal PLoS One.

The researchers relied on data from 934 people living with type 2 diabetes and 918 members of a control group from Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China. Interviews were conducted with the participants to gain demographic data and information about their lifestyle habits. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to asses the participants’ dietary habits.

The results showed that patients with diabetes consumed fewer nutrients and lower levels of energy than people without diabetes. However, diabetic patients had higher HbA1c levels, fasting plasma glucose levels, triglycerides, and body mass indexes than the control group.

Lower HbA1c levels were seen in patients who had a low-glycemic diet, or a diet high in fiber, regardless of the length of time they were living with diabetes. People who ingested high amounts of fiber had an odds ratio of 0.51 of having poor glycemic control, compared to 0.75 in patients who ingested the least amount of fiber.

The results demonstrate an association between nutrient consumption in diabetic patients and their ability to manage their type 2 diabetes. More research is required to determine if patients in varied settings can improve their glycemic control by increasing their fiber intake.

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