As of 2012, approximately 29.1 million Americans had diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. That’s 9.3% of the population – and diabetes can be deadly: it kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined(1).
When it comes to the development of type 2 diabetes, diet and other lifestyle factors play a major role. Recently, a number of researchers have drawn attention to the importance of dietary fiber in the prevention of the disease.
Study Sheds New Light
Specifically, a study in the journal Diabetologia has evaluated the association between the intake of dietary fiber and the ocurance of type 2 diabetes in European populations. The study took place over the course of 10 years, and included over 11,500 participants.
“Dietary fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of diabetes… after adjustment for lifestyle and dietary factors,” the study notes.
“Similar inverse associations were observed for the intake of cereal fiber and vegetable fiber, but not fruit fiber.”
The study concludes that “The overall evidence indicates that the intake of total cereal fiber is inversely related to the risk of type 2 diabetes,” but cautions that the association may be partially explained by body weight.(2)
Expanding On Previous Studies
The new study builds on previous research done on the subject of fiber and diabetes prevention. In 2007, the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research published a study which explained that
“A low-fat diet with dietary fiber intake of more than 30g/day was shown to represent an effective preventive approach… In addition to positive effects in the gastrointestinal tract it has an obvious potential to support weight reduction and to improve disturbances of carbohydrate and fat metabolism. At the present state of knowledge, insoluble dietary dibers as found in whole grain cereal products are considered to be especially effective in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus.”(3)
Getting More Dietary Fiber
When you’re adding fiber to your diet, it’s a good idea to start slowly – adding too much fiber at once can be a recipe for digestive distress. Here are some easy ways to get more fiber in your daily diet:
- Choose whole grains. When picking out a food with fiber, check the ingredients and opt for a food that contains whole grains. Whole grains have most of their fiber intact.
- Eat raw fruits and veggies instead of fruit or veggie juice. Solid fruits and veggies contain natural fiber that helps your body process the sugar contained in them more slowly.
- Avoid white bread and pasta – these have relatively low fiber content for carbohydrates.