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how does fibre help diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is caused when the hormone insulin cannot be produced enough by the pancreas. It can also be caused when insulin in the body cannot be utilised properly.

Insulin is needed to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the body. Our bodies get glucose from the foods we eat. Normally insulin allows this glucose to enter the body's cells from the bloodstream. If the glucose cannot enter the cells it stays in the bloodstream and blood glucose levels rise. This can cause serious problems if left unmanaged. To live with T2D it requires some lifestyle changes or management. The most important factors to consider are diet and exercise.

''According to the Healthy Ireland survey, 854,165 adults over 40 in the Republic of Ireland are at increased risk of developing (or have) Type 2 diabetes. More alarmingly, there are a further 304,382 in the 30 – 39 year age group that are overweight and not taking the weekly 150 minutes recommended physical activity, leaving them at an increased risk of chronic ill-health. This means that there are 1,158,547 adults in Ireland that need to consider making changes to their daily behaviours in terms of eating healthily and being more active.” (Healthy Ireland Survey documents, 2022)

Studies consistently show associations of a high dietary fiber intake (over 25 grams per day for women and over 38 grams per day in men) with a 20–30% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (Weickert and Pfeiffer, 2018)

Fibre acts by slowing down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Eating foods rich in fiber is less likely to cause a spike in high blood sugar. Having diabetes can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows that increasing your intake of fibre, especially cereal and wholegrains, can help reduce the risk of cardio-metabolic diseases which includes cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and obesity. (Diabetes UK, 2022)

There is ample evidence to showcase the beneficial effects of a high fibre diet in managing T2D and also in reducing the risk of developing the disease. I will continue to highlight its importance in the diet over the coming weeks and showcase how food is medicine.

  1. 2022. Healthy Ireland Survey documents. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 February 2022].

  2. Weickert, M.O. and Pfeiffer, A.F. (2018). Impact of Dietary Fiber Consumption on Insulin Resistance and the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. The Journal of Nutrition, 148(1), pp.7–12.

  3. Diabetes UK. (n.d.). Fibre and diabetes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Feb. 2022].

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