High-fiber diet linked with the prevention and management of diabetes

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 India contributes significantly to the global diabetes epidemic, with the second-highest diabetes population in the world[[1]}.  Prominent studies [[2]}[[3]}[[4]}underline the need of using medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to achieve and maintain glucose levels, lipid, and weight and to prevent cardiovascular risk factors, for all adults with diabetes or prediabetes. Dietary Fiber (DF) is an important component of the overall strategy to achieve MNT goals and is recommended for effective management of diabetes. While numerous studies link DF to managing diabetes, the information available is scattered.  

To address this gap, for the first time, Diabetes India brought together a group of twelve eminent diabetologists and two expert dietitians to review and report on the role of high DF in the management of Type 2 Diabetes Management (T2DM). The authors convened to reach a consensus on the final recommendations between August 2021 and December 2021.  It is formally published by Elsevier on behalf of ‘Diabetes India’ in the Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews.

The prevalence of diabetes is estimated to increase from 425 million people in 2017 to 629 million by 2045.[[5]} Similar trend estimates the increasing burden of a triple burden of pre-diabetes, diabetes, and obesity in India.  As per the study, a high fiber diet is vital for people with diabetes and associated conditions. Increasing fiber intake, preferably through food or through a fiber-rich diabetes (FDN)  supplement has proven to be beneficial.

Fiber-rich diabetes nutrition (FDN), a new term coined by the experts to create a fiber-specific diabetes nutrition category, has multi-systemic health benefits. The health benefits of high fiber are improvement in blood sugar control, reduction in blood sugar spikes, decrease in hyperinsulinemia, improvement in cholesterol  levels, and weight management in T2DM patients.

An ideal diet for diabetes and associated conditions patients would be a high fiber diet with a gradual step-up of fiber intake going up to the recommended 25-40 g/day. Studies have shown that in T2DM patients, increasing the intake of high fiber foods or fiber rich dietary supplements, particularly of the soluble type will help people in managing diabetes and also in people without diabetes.

Dr. V Mohan from Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre says, “ To manage diabetes, reducing glycemic peaks is a particularly important target in the treatment of the disorder to improve overall treatment outcomes. A high fiber diet is vital to prevent and manage diabetes. Individuals with diabetes need to be advised not only to increase the quantity of fiber but also to include the right type of fiber or soluble fiber in their diet. Soluble fiber has numerous beneficial effects like lowering blood sugar spikes, management of cholesterol levels, enhancing immune function, increasing satiety, promoting weight loss and improving gut health.

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