Background: The effect of increasing the intake of dietary fiber on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus is controversial.
Methods: In a randomized, crossover study, we assigned 13 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus to follow two diets, each for six weeks: a diet containing moderate amounts of fiber (total, 24 g; 8 g of soluble fiber and 16 g of insoluble fiber), as recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and a high-fiber diet (total, 50 g; 25 g of soluble fiber and 25 g of insoluble fiber), containing foods not fortified with fiber (unfortified foods). Both diets, prepared in a research kitchen, had the same macronutrient and energy content. We compared the effects of the two diets on glycemic control and plasma lipid concentrations.
Results: Compliance with the diets was excellent. During the sixth week, the high-fiber diet, as compared with the the sixth week of the ADA diet, mean daily preprandial plasma glucose concentrations were 13 mg per deciliter [0.7 mmol per liter] lower (95 percent confidence interval, 1 to 24 mg per deciliter [0.1 to 1.3 mmol per liter]; P=0.04) and mean median difference, daily urinary glucose excretion 1.3 g (0.23; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.03 to 1.83 g; P= 0.008). The high-fiber diet also lowered the area under the curve for 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, which were measured every two hours, by 10 percent (P=0.02) and 12 percent (P=0.05), respectively. The high-fiber diet reduced plasma total cholesterol concentrations by 6.7 percent (P=0.02), triglyceride concentrations by 10.2 percent (P=0.02), and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations by 12.5 percent (P=0.01).
Conclusions: A high intake of dietary fiber, particularly of the soluble type, above the level recommended by the ADA, improves glycemic control, decreases hyperinsulinemia, and lowers plasma lipid concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes.