Efficacy of high-fiber diets in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Endocr Pract. Jan-Feb 2011;17(1):132-42. doi: 10.4158/EP10204.RA.


Objective: To review outcomes of randomized controlled clinical trials exploring the efficacy of different types of diets containing various amounts of fiber in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar for published data from the past decade (through December 2009) on dietary patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Only randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of whole grains, fiber, or vegetarian diets on type 2 diabetes were included. Search criteria included whole grain, fruit, vegetable, fiber, and meat intake regarding insulin sensitivity and glycemic responses in healthy, prediabetic, and diabetic persons.

Results: A total of 14 randomized clinical trials were included. Addition of insoluble or soluble fiber to meals, increased consumption of diets rich in whole grains and vegetables, and vegan diets improve glucose metabolism and increase insulin sensitivity. The greatest improvement in blood lipids, body weight, and hemoglobin A(1c) level occurred in participants following low-fat, plant-based diets.

Conclusions: Increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, and soluble and insoluble fiber is associated with improved glucose metabolism in both diabetic and nondiabetic individuals. Improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis were more evident in participants following a plant-based diet compared with other commonly used diets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic