Add More Fiber To Your Diet To Lower Risk Of Diabetes, High Cholesterol, And Chronic Disease

cereal
You don't have to be a college student to enjoy frequent consumption of cereal. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Good news to people who love cereal: Getting most of your fiber from healthy cereals or oatmeals might be your best bet in managing weight and lowering your risk for diabetes, according to a new study published in Diabetologia.

This isn’t the first study that has linked fiber intake with a reduced risk of diabetes; plenty of studies have shown that fiber aids immensely in losing weight. However, it is the first to find that link among European countries. The researchers examined data from eight countries in Europe, then compared it with data from 18 other independent studies around the world. They used information from Cambridge University’s EPIC-InterAct study, the world’s largest study of type 2 diabetes, which includes 12,403 incident cases of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers divided participants into four groups — the first consumed the lowest intake of fiber, and the last group ate the highest, with the two in between consuming medium amounts. They followed the participants for about 11 years, and found that those who consumed over 26g of fiber per day (the highest amount) had an 18 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than those who consumed less than 19g of fiber per day (the lowest amount). They found that fiber doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of diabetes directly, but rather it helped people lose weight, which in turn saved them from diabetes.

“Taken together, our results indicate that individuals with diets rich in fiber, in particular cereal fiber, may be at lower risk of type 2 diabetes,” Dagfinn Aune, an author of the study and a Ph.D. student with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Imperial College London, said in the press release. “We are not certain why this might be, but potential mechanisms could include feeling physically full for longer, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine.”

It turns out cereal is where the magic’s at: Cereals high in fiber had the strongest correlation between fiber intake and reduced diabetes risk, even more so than fruit.

In addition to lowering your risk for diabetes, fiber is beneficial for your digestive system in helping normalize bowel movements and fight constipation. It maintains your bowel health by protecting you against hemorrhoids or diverticular disease, in which small bulges develop in the digestive tract. Fiber also lowers cholesterol levels, and benefits your cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure and inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, one recent study actually found that boosting whole grains and cereal fiber intake reduced the risk of mortality and other chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

So don't be scared to add plenty of Raisin Bran (and other fiber-rich cereals like Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats, Fiber One Clusters, and Market Pantry), fruit, vegetables, and whole grains like oatmeal into your diet.

Source: Aune D et al. Diabetologia. 2015.

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