A higher fibre intake has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

Camille Bienvenu
Mon, 10 Apr 2017
A higher fibre intake has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
A small randomised trial has found that a higher fibre intake, either from food or supplements, can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies suggested that meals with soluble fibre take longer to digest, thereby slowing down the rise in blood sugar, so researchers tested whether it was the case regardless of the fibre source or content.

Scientists from Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, gave 19 participants with type 2 diabetes three different breakfasts with the same number of calories but varying in the source and content level of fibre.

One breakfast had a high dietary fibre content (9.7g), another contained supplements that provided a slightly lower fibre content (9.1g), and the third breakfast (acting as a control) had normal fibre content (2.5g).

A total of 57 meal tests were conducted to see which one of those breakfasts, if any, elicited an undesirable blood sugar response in participants and how they stack up against each other.

The researchers compared results using a method called the blood glucose area under the curve (AUC), which is thought to more accurately describe the blood sugar response to foods than other metrics do.

For example, on a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), the AUC is a way of representing the amount of time spent in a state of elevated blood sugars based on one's chosen boundaries or settings.

The lower the AUC, the better, as a large amount of time spent above the target potentially causes more long-term complications.

Researchers found that the AUCs were not significantly different between the breakfast high in dietary fibre and the one high in supplementary fibre.

The second interesting finding is that both AUC values for the breakfasts high in dietary fibre and fibre supplement were by far lower than the AUC associated with the normal fibre content breakfast.

A separate analysis also calculated the AUCs related to the participants' insulin levels and found that they were slightly higher following the lower fibre supplement-enriched and normal fibre content breakfasts.

Overall, the findings seem to show that a higher fibre intake, whether from foods or in supplements, results in a beneficial blood sugar response in people with type 2 diabetes.
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