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July 28, 1978

Dietary Fiber for the Diabetic

JAMA. 1978;240(4):379. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290040057028

Fiber, the touted prophylaxis for a host of disorders1— hemorrhoids, hiatus hernia, varicose veins, gallbladder disease, appendicitis, diverticulitis, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease—has had a rough time living up to the claims made in its behalf. Until recently only one claim—and this by no means a new one—has remained uncontested. Fiber is great for constipation.

Recent studies suggest that fiber may also prove useful in controlling hyperglycemia. Douglass2 noted a decrease in insulin requirements of two diabetic patients when they increased the amount of raw, unprocessed, fiber-rich foods in their diets. Jenkins et al3 observed a drop in postprandial plasma glucose and insulin levels in eight insulin-independent and three insulin-dependent diabetic subjects after two fiber products, pectin and guar, had been added to the standardized meals. Kiehm et al4 reported a lowering of fasting plasma glucose levels and a diminished need of sulfonylureas or