Glycemic index and dietary fiber and the risk of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2004 Nov;27(11):2701-6. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.11.2701.


Objective: To examine associations between type 2 diabetes and fiber, glycemic load (GL), dietary glycemic index (GI), and fiber-rich foods.

Research design and methods: This was a prospective study of 36,787 men and women aged 40-69 years without diabetes. For all self-reported cases of diabetes at 4-year follow-up, confirmation of diagnosis was sought from medical practitioners. Case subjects were those who reported diabetes at follow-up and for whom there was no evidence that they did not have type 2 diabetes. Data were analyzed with logistic regression, adjusting for country of birth, physical activity, family history of diabetes, alcohol and energy intake, education, 5-year weight change, sex, and age.

Results: Follow-up was completed by 31,641 (86%) participants, and 365 cases were identified. The odds ratio (OR) for the highest quartile of white bread intake compared with the lowest was 1.37 (95% CI 1.04-1.81; P for trend = 0.001). Intakes of carbohydrate (OR per 200 g/day 0.58, 0.36-0.95), sugars (OR per 100 g/day 0.61, 0.47-0.79), and magnesium (OR per 500 mg/day 0.62, 0.43-0.90) were inversely associated with incidence of diabetes, whereas intake of starch (OR per 100 g/day 1.47, 1.06-2.05) and dietary GI (OR per 10 units 1.32, 1.05-1.66) were positively associated with diabetes. These relationships were attenuated after adjustment for BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.

Conclusions: Reducing dietary GI while maintaining a high carbohydrate intake may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. One way to achieve this would be to substitute white bread with low-GI breads.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bread
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Starch / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Starch
  • Magnesium