This High-Fiber Diet Improves Gut Bacteria and Benefits Those with Type-2 Diabetes
According to research published in the journal Science by researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the promotion of a select group of gut bacteria by a diet high in diverse fibers leads to better glucose control, greater weight loss and better lipid levels.
The 6-year study simply provides evidence that eating more of the right dietary fibers may rebalance the gut microbiota, or the ecosystem of bacteria, in the gut that help digest food and are important for overall health.
What is Type-2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood sugar due to insulin production or insulin action. The most common form is Type-2 diabetes. It is a major contributor to mortality and morbidity. However, this type of diabetes can be completely avoided through lifestyle changes. For those with Type-2 diabetes, there are steps to control it and lower the risk of complications.
Importance of Gut Bacteria
In the gut, it is the job of bacteria to break down carbohydrates and nourish our gut to reduce inflammation and help control appetite. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your digestive tract that are the key to healthy digestion and regularity. Levels of probiotics decrease as we age, but can also be lowered by factors like a poor diet and obesity. As the level of probiotics in our bodies decrease, problematic bacteria in the gut thrive. A shortage of short-chain fatty acids have been associated with type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
Researchers randomized patients with type-2 diabetes into two groups. One received standard patient education and dietary recommendations. The other, was given a large amount of many times of dietary fibers, while ingesting a similar diet for energy and major nutrients. Both took Acarbose, a drug used to help control blood glucose.
After 12 weeks, patients on the high-fiber diet had greater reduction in a three-month average of blood glucose levels. Their fasting blood glucose levels also dropped faster and they lost more weight.
The study supports establishing healthy gut bacteria as a new nutritional approach for preventing and managing type-2 diabetes.
- Liping Zhao, Feng Zhang, Xiaoying Ding, Guojun Wu, Yan Y. Lam, Xuejiao Wang, Huaqing Fu, Xinhe Xue, Chunhua Lu, Jilin Ma, Lihua Yu, Chengmei Xu, Zhongying Ren, Ying Xu, Songmei Xu, Hongli Shen, Xiuli Zhu, Yu Shi, Qingyun Shen, Weiping Dong, Rui Liu, Yunxia Ling, Yue Zeng, Xingpeng Wang, Qianpeng Zhang, Jing Wang, Linghua Wang, Yanqiu Wu, Benhua Zeng, Hong Wei, Menghui Zhang, Yongde Peng, Chenhong Zhang. Gut bacteria selectively promoted by dietary fibers alleviate type 2 diabetes. Science, 2018; 359 (6380): 1151 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5774