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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


High Fiber Breakfasts Benefit Metabolic Health

By Rachel Murphy

In 2012 there were 29.1 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes and a further 86 million American adults with prediabetes.  How much and the type of foods in the diet are important considerations for people with diabetes to help manage blood glucose levels.  The American Diabetes Association has identified 10 ‘super foods’ to incorporate into diabetes meal plans, all of which have low glycemix index (GI) and nutrients like fiber.  In addition to lowering cholesterol, dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels.  The pairing of low glycemic foods and fiber may have additional health benefits.       

Silva and colleagues tested four different breakfasts that varied only in GI and fiber content among adults with type 2 diabetes; high GI high fiber, high GI low fiber, low GI high fiber and low GI low fiber.  High fiber breakfast contained 6grams of fiber, the main source from wheat bran cereal.  Plasma glucose, insulin and ghrelin were measured following breakfast.  The glucose response was greater after the high GI low fiber than after the low GI high fiber breakfast.  The insulin response was greater after the high GI low fiber breakfast than after the high GI high fiber breakfast.  There was also evidence of diminished hunger (lower ghrelin) after consumption of the low GI high fiber diet.

The researchers conclude that reducing the GI and increasing fiber in breakfasts are effective strategies for improving metabolic profile of individuals with type 2 diabetes. The average intake of fiber at breakfast in Americans over age 20 is only 3.4 grams, nearly half of that in the study.  Roughly 1 in 7 Americans over age 20 skip breakfast and throughout the day the mean fiber intake is only 18.1grams compared to the adequate intake that ranges by age and gender from 21 to 38 grams/day among adults. Therefore, incorporating more fiber as part of a healthy balanced breakfast and other meal occasions should also be a goal for the general population.

Main Citation

Silva FM et al.  A high-glycemic index, low-fiber breakfast affects the postprandial plasma glucose, insulin, and ghrelin responses of patients with Type 2 diabetes in a randomized clinical trial.  J Nutr 2015 doi: 10.3945/jn.114.195339

Other Citations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: estimates of diabetes and its burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.

Whitehead A et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2014 doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.086108

Riccardi G and Rivellese AA.  Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care 1991 doi:10.2337/diacare.

What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2012, individuals 2 years and over (excluding breast-fed children), day 1. Available:


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