Aims/hypothesis: Intake of dietary fibre has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, but few European studies have been published on this. We evaluated the association between intake of dietary fibre and type 2 diabetes in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study and in a meta-analysis of prospective studies.
Methods: During 10.8 years of follow-up, 11,559 participants with type 2 diabetes were identified and a subcohort of 15,258 participants was selected for the case-cohort study. Country-specific HRs were estimated using Prentice-weighted Cox proportional hazards models and were pooled using a random effects meta-analysis. Eighteen other cohort studies were identified for the meta-analysis.
Results: In the EPIC-InterAct Study, dietary fibre intake was associated with a lower risk of diabetes (HRQ4 vs Q1 0.82; 95% CI 0.69, 0.97) after adjustment for lifestyle and dietary factors. Similar inverse associations were observed for the intake of cereal fibre and vegetable fibre, but not fruit fibre. The associations were attenuated and no longer statistically significant after adjustment for BMI. In the meta-analysis (19 cohorts), the summary RRs per 10 g/day increase in intake were 0.91 (95% CI 0.87, 0.96) for total fibre, 0.75 (95% CI 0.65, 0.86) for cereal fibre, 0.95 (95% CI 0.87, 1.03) for fruit fibre and 0.93 (95% CI 0.82, 1.05) for vegetable fibre.
Conclusions/interpretation: The overall evidence indicates that the intake of total and cereal fibre is inversely related to the risk of type 2 diabetes. The results of the EPIC-InterAct Study suggest that the association may be partially explained by body weight.