Eating more fibre can improve life expectancy for those with diabetes

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Otago researchers say higher fibre saves lives, but food processing may remove benefits

Two recent studies from University of Otago researchers in New Zealand have shown eating more dietary fibre improves life expectancy, although food processing may remove these benefits.

One study, a review published in Plos Medicine, used data collected from 8300 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to show that those with a higher fibre intake faced a significant reduction in premature mortality compared to those eating the least fibre.

The research team also analysed 42 trials with 1789 participants where adults with prediabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes were given more fibre and whole grains for at least six weeks.

They found consistent improvements in blood glucose control, cholesterol levels and reductions in body weight when adults with prediabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes increased their fibre or wholegrain intake.

In the second study, researchers found not all foods that contain fibre are created equal – while whole grains are an important source of fibre, their benefits may be diluted when heavily processed.

These two studies, along with previous research, confirm choosing high fibre foods like whole grains, whole fruit, dark leafy greens or legumes is good for everyone, and important in managing diseases such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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