Studies done on dietary fiber (DF) over the past five years are presented in this Review. The involvement of dietary fiber in the control of plasma glucose and lipid levels is now established. Two dietary fiber sources (soybean and fenugreek) were studied in our laboratory and are discussed herein. These sources were found to be potentially beneficial in the reduction of plasma glucose in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus subjects. They are shown to be acceptable by human subjects and are easy to use either in a mixture of milk products and in cooking. The mechanism by which dietary fiber alters the nutrient absorption is also discussed. The effect of DF on gastric emptying, transit time, adsorption and glucose transport may contribute to reducing plasma glucose and lipid levels. DF was found to be effective in controlling blood glucose and lipid levels of pregnant diabetic women. Dietary fiber may also be potentially beneficial in the reduction of exogenous insulin requirements in these subjects. However, increased consumption of DF may cause adverse side effects; the binding capabilities of fiber may affect nutrient availability, particularly that of minerals and prolonged and high DF dosage supplementation must be regarded cautiously. This is particularly true when recommending such a diet for pregnant or lactating women, children or subjects with nutritional disorders. Physiological effects of DF appear to depend heavily on the source and composition of fiber. Using a combination of DF from a variety of sources may reduce the actual mass of fiber required to obtain the desired metabolic effects and will result in a more palatable diet. Previously observed problems, such as excess flatus, diarrhea and mineral malabsorption would also be minimized.