A new study claims eating high amounts of fibre could have benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.
The research, underway for six years, found a high-fibre diet improved blood sugar control, enabled weight loss and improved lipid profiles among people with type 2 diabetes, compared with a control group who ate a normal diet.
Scientists from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the US and Jiao Tong University in the China say that the evidence shows how eating more dietary fibre could rebalance gut microbiota, improving food digestion and overall health.
Both the high-fibre group and the control also took a drug called acarbose, a blood glucose-lowering medication designed for people with type 2 diabetes. Because some fibres can contain higher amounts of carbohydrate than others, which raise blood sugar levels, the drug could have negated these effects.
The high-fibre group ate a diet consisting of whole grains and traditional Chinese medicinal foods rich in dietary fibre and prebiotics. Prebiotics help to promote the growth of gut bacteria. The control group received standard food education and dietary recommendations.
After three months, the high-fibre diet group had greater blood sugar reductions, weight loss and improved HbA1c compared to the control group. The improved gut environment also led to increased insulin production.
“Our study lays the foundation and opens the possibility that fibres targeting this group of gut bacteria could eventually become a major part of your diet and your treatment,” said lead author Liping Zhao from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
The findings appear online in the journal Science.
Editor’s note: High fibre intake has long been linked to improved health in people with type 2 diabetes, but fibre type is important. For example, insoluble fibre sources such as potatoes and brown rice can be higher in carbs and will increase blood sugar levels more than soluble fibre sources such as berries and non-starchy vegetables. For more information on fibre and diet visit our award-winning Low Carb Program.

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