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05-08-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Diets high in GI and carbohydrate, low in fiber increase Type 2 diabetes risk


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MedWire News: Study results show that consumption of a diet with a high glycemic load (GL) and index (GI) that is high in starch and low in fiber increases the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

"Both carbohydrate quantity and quality seem to be important factors in diabetes prevention," say the researchers.

Ivonne Sluijs (University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands) and colleagues carried out a prospective cohort study of 37,846 individuals participating in the EPIC-NL (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands) study to assess the impact of dietary GL, GI, carbohydrate, and fiber intake on incidence of Type 2 diabetes over a 10-year period.

The participants were aged 21-70 years at baseline and were diabetes free. Dietary intake was measured using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Overall, 915 new cases of Type 2 diabetes occurred over the study period. GL was significantly associated with diabetes risk, with an increase in risk of 32% per 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in GL.

A similar elevation in GI and carbohydrate intake increased the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by 8% and 15%, respectively, but this was only of borderline significance for GI.

In contrast, each 1 SD increase in fiber intake significantly reduced the risk for Type 2 diabetes by 8%.

When the researchers looked at carbohydrate subtypes, only starch intake was significantly associated with an increased risk for diabetes, with a relative risk of 25% per 1 SD increase.

The authors note that these associations are likely to be attenuated by a certain degree of energy intake misreporting by the participants.

However, they conclude that "our findings support the view that diets high in GL, GI, and carbohydrate, and low in fiber increase the risk of diabetes."

The results of this study are reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert