Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

High fibre benefits those with diabetes or prediabetes

Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre members have published a systematic review and meta-analysis of fibre in diabetes management, in the high-ranking international journal PLOS Medicine.

Dr Andrew Reynolds, Professor Jim Mann and Dr Ashley Akerman, researchers at the University of Otago, have found that there are substantial benefits for those with prediabetes or diabetes if they increase their dietary fibre intake.

In New Zealand most adults consume 20g or less of fibre each day. This analysis has shown that diabetics with higher intakes of around 35g of fibre per day had a 35% reduced risk of premature death. In addition, when fibre intake was increased, those with prediabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes experienced improvements in blood glucose control, cholesterol levels, and body weight.

This study was undertaken to inform an update of the European nutrition guidelines for diabetes management, with the authors concluding that:

"a key recommendation arising from this research is for those with prediabetes, type 1, or type 2 diabetes to increase their dietary fibre intakes to 35 g per day."

However the researchers noted that the biggest benefits for glycaemic control were seen for those who moved from having a low fibre intake to eating moderate or high amounts of dietary fibre.

The PLOS Medicine review and analysis included two multi-country cohorts of 8,300 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (who were followed on average for just under nine years), and 42 controlled trials that included 1,789 adults with prediabetes, type 1, or type 2 diabetes.

How do I increase my dietary fibre intake?

  •  Base meals and snacks around vegetables, pulses, whole fruits, and whole grains
  •  Replace refined grain foods such as white flour, white bread, and white rice with wholegrain foods such as wholemeal flour, wholegrain bread, and brown rice.


The New Zealand Heart Foundation has meal suggestions that will help increase your dietary fibre intake.

Find out more about fibre and diabetes