Background: Increasing evidence suggests an important role of carbohydrate quality in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Objective: Our objective was to prospectively examine the association between glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber and the risk of type 2 diabetes in a large cohort of young women.
Design: In 1991, 91249 women completed a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire that assessed dietary intake. The women were followed for 8 y for the development of incident type 2 diabetes, and dietary information was updated in 1995.
Results: We identified 741 incident cases of confirmed type 2 diabetes during 8 y (716 300 person-years) of follow-up. After adjustment for age, body mass index, family history of diabetes, and other potential confounders, glycemic index was significantly associated with an increased risk of diabetes (multivariate relative risks for quintiles 1-5, respectively: 1, 1.15, 1.07, 1.27, and 1.59; 95% CI: 1.21, 2.10; P for trend = 0.001). Conversely, cereal fiber intake was associated with a decreased risk of diabetes (multivariate relative risks for quintiles 1-5, respectively: 1, 0.85, 0.87, 0.82, and 0.64; 95% CI: 0.48, 0.86; P for trend = 0.004). Glycemic load was not significantly associated with risk in the overall cohort (multivariate relative risks for quintiles 1-5, respectively: 1, 1.31, 1.20, 1.14, and 1.33; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.91; P for trend = 0.21).
Conclusions: A diet high in rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and low in cereal fiber is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.