Lower intake of magnesium and dietary fiber increases the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Taiwanese

J Formos Med Assoc. 2012 Nov;111(11):651-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2012.07.038. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


Background/purpose: Several studies have indicated an inverse association between the incidence of diabetes mellitus and magnesium and dietary fiber intake. Few studies have examined both of these associations together, not to mention in Asian populations with prospective study design. We therefore aimed to study how dietary magnesium and fiber intake levels affect diabetes incidence separately or in combination, in a prospective study in Taiwan.

Methods: The study subjects were recruited for a longitudinal study, CardioVascular Disease risk FACtor Two-township Study cycle 2 from November 1990. Data from complete baseline information on dietary and biochemical profile and at least one additional follow-up visit were gathered on a total of 1604 healthy subjects aged 30 years and over. Cox proportional hazard model was used to study the association between diabetes incidence and dietary magnesium and fiber intake level estimated from a food frequency questionnaire.

Results: A total of 141 diabetes mellitus events were identified and confirmed during the 4.6 years of follow-up (7365.1 person-years). A significantly higher diabetes risk was observed for people in the lowest quintile of total dietary fiber intake (hazard ratio = 2.04; 95% CI = 1.17-3.53) and magnesium intake (hazard ratio = 2.61; 95% CI = 1.42-4.79) compared with the highest quintile after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors. Similar inverse associations for total dietary fiber were also shown for vegetable fiber and fruit fiber.

Conclusion: Lower magnesium, lower total dietary fiber intake, or lower intake of both was associated with higher risk of diabetes in the Taiwanese population. Clinical trials are required to confirm the protective effects of the adequate intake of fiber, magnesium, and/or their combination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Dietary Fiber / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Magnesium