The researchers analyzed the association between total fiber as well as fiber originating from fruits, vegetables and cereal, and new type 2 diabetes developing across Europe, in more than eight countries. This was evaluated in the EPIC-InterAct Study.
PhD student Dagfinn Aune, in collaboration with the Norwegian University, evaluated the data of around 12,500 cases diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. As a control group, around 16,000 individuals participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, as well as 350,000 participants in total.
It was discovered that participants with high total fiber intake (more than 26 g/day) had a 18% lower chance of developing diabetes. Those with the lowest amount of fiber intake (less than 19 g/day) had a much higher risk of developing diabetes.
The study that combined the results with the participant’s body mass index (BMI) that is used as an indicator for obesity, higher total fiber intake was no longer connected to a lower risk of developing diabetes, suggesting that dietary fiber may help people maintain a healthy weight. This shows that the chances of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced.
While researchers analyzed different dietary fiber sources, cereal showed that it contained the most fiber. Fiber from cereals and vegetables showed to have a 19% and 16% lower chance of developing diabetes. These associations were cleared out when compared to BMI. Fruit fiber did not show lower chances of developing diabetes, in contrast to the other sources. Cereal fiber was the main source of fiber among all the countries that took part of the study.
As of 2010, 285 million people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease with a ten year shorter life expectancy associated with high blood sugar and lack of insulin. People that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a four times higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke.
University of Cambridge Professor Nick Wareham, who is also an author on this paper, added that global health measures for increasing the fiber intake through a healthy diet which played in important part in overcoming obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The study is published in the journal of Diabetologia.