Can a high fibre diet REALLY help prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

all branI’ve read 3 separate reports today of new research into the effects of a high fibre diet on the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Without exception the three reports all claim that the research has shown that high fibre can prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Yet dig a small way beneath the headlines and it’s clear that’s not quite what the research actually found.

Two of the 3 reports state that when weight was taken out of the equation, high fibre actually had NO direct impact at all on Type 2 diabetes or its prevention, thus revealing the illusion within their own headlines:

“When BMI was accounted for, total fibre intake did not have this beneficial association with reduced diabetes risk.” – www.diabetes.co.uk

“The researchers said that when a person’s body-mass index (BMI) — an estimate of body fat based on height and weight — was accounted for, the benefits of a high-fiber diet in warding off diabetes disappeared.” – www.webmd.com

So it’s slightly curious that the other report makes no mention of this fact, and dramatically expands on the claims in favour of high fibre diets stating:

“High fibre intake found to lower chance of Type 2 by nearly a fifth” – Daily Mail

The reality of these findings is that some types of fibre – but not all – MAY help people to lose weight, and weight loss in turn MAY help prevent a person developing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a tentative link  and no certain cause and effect has been established. It certainly has not been established that high fibre has any direct impact on your likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes, though I can imagine many breakfast cereal manufacturers would very much like you to think this!

I have absolutely nothing against appropriate amounts of fibre in anyone’s diet, but I am left wondering why the findings of this particular study are being apparently overblown. Is this really about vested interests in selling us more high fibre cereal, as a backlash against the recent vilification of the role of carbohydrates in the burgeoning so-called diabetes epidemic?  I’m sure time will tell!

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