Friday, August 31st 2007
Vegetables offer more protection against diabetes than fruit or cereal, Australian research shows.
A study of more than 2000 people tracked over 10 years has found that vegetable fiber had the strongest links to a reduced risk of type two diabetes.
Adults eating 5g a day of vegetable fiber over the decade had a 24 per cent reduction in the disease, according to research by the University of Sydney.
For people aged over 70, the benefits were even greater, with a 31 per cent reduction.
The same intake of fruit or cereal fibers only marginally reduced the risk, showing they were not nearly as beneficial.
The findings, published in the US journal Diabetes Care, prove that the type and quality of carbohydrate consumed plays an important role in type two diabetes.
Eating carbs that are high in natural fiber and ranked low on the glycaemic index - foods that produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels - may effectively prevent the lifestyle disease, the researchers concluded.
The study leader, dietitian Alan Barclay, said vegetables, and legumes in particular, were probably getting the best result because they were an ideal source of intact or "natural" fibers.
"Legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas are eaten whole with their dietary fibers intact, which means they actually encapsulate the carbohydrate in the food," said Mr. Barclay, a PhD student.
"They therefore slow down the rate of digestion and absorption and have good flow-on glycaemic effects on blood glucose."
Cereal fiber is not so effective because it is usually added to products, rather than eaten in a natural form.
And while fresh fruit fibers are intact, Australians are probably just not eating enough of it to benefit, Mr. Barclay said.
The study focused on 2123 people aged over 49 living in the NSW Blue Mountains who were tracked between 1991 and 2001. Over that time, 138 people developed diabetes.
NZ Herald 31st August 2007
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