High-Fiber Diet Can Ward Off T2 Diabetes and Heart Disease
Source: Nutrition Horizon Press Release

A diet high in fiber can provide significant protection against type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, according to a scientific panel at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo.

Researchers presented evidence from several studies supporting the benefits of a diet rich in whole-grain food, especially cereal fiber. In one analysis, scientists found that each one serving per day increment in whole grain intake is associated with a 10 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, said Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition, epidemiology and medicine in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines whole grain as foods made from the entire grain seed, usually called the kernel, which consists of the bran, germ and endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed or flaked, it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ and endosperm as the original grain in order to be called whole grain.

Hu said whole-grain fiber offers several key metabolic and digestive benefits, including:

* Satiety
* Increased insulin sensitivity
* Reduced inflammation
* Binding bile acids and increasing excretion of cholesterol

Britt Burton Freeman, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of California, Davis, said there is some evidence that eating one meal rich in fiber can extend health benefits through the next meal and perhaps beyond. She said soluble viscous fibers, such as psyllium, guar gum, pectin and beta-glucan, are most effective at reducing post-meal glucose. High post-meal glucose is a significant issue for people with diabetes.

"People probably aren’t going to have perfect meals, so what happens in the morning could have benefits throughout the entire day," she said.

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Originally posted by DiabetesCare.net on July 23, 2010.