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A high-fiber diet may reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a cohort study published in Diabetologia.
Researchers monitored fiber intake from cereal, fruit, and vegetables for participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study for about 11 years. Those who ate the most fiber (more than 26 grams per day) experienced an 18 percent reduction in diabetes risk compared to those who consumed the least (less than 19 grams per day).
High fiber consumption also led to lower body weight.
An additional meta-analysis of 18 studies showed a 9 percent decrease in risk for every 10 grams of fiber consumed. Overall, fiber from cereals contributed the highest risk reduction of up to 25 percent.
Fiber helps us feel fuller on fewer calories and rids our system of excess toxins and hormones. Without adequate fiber, hormones and other chemicals are continuously reabsorbed back into the bloodstream, staying in the body longer than they should.
Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in oats, barley, and legumes, dissolves in water (think of creamy oatmeal) and is especially known for its ability to control cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber is found in wheat, rice, and many other grains. It doesn’t get gooey like oatmeal, rather it behaves like tiny little scrub brushes, keeping the intestinal contents moving along quickly.
There is plenty of fiber in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Animal products, however, don’t have any fiber at all. The average American gets only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day – a sensible and easily reached goal is 40 grams per day. Try increasing your fiber intake gradually, rather than in one jump. It may take a few weeks for your digestive tract to get used to the change.
The InterAct Consortium. Dietary fibre and incidence of type 2 diabetes in eight European countries: the EPIC-InterAct Study and a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetologia. Published online May 29, 2015.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. PCRM website.