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J Nutr. 2010 Jan;140(1):68-74. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.112441. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Dietary fiber, magnesium, and glycemic load alter risk of type 2 diabetes in a multiethnic cohort in Hawaii.

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Department of Epidemiology, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.


The influence of dietary fiber, magnesium (Mg), and glycemic load (GL) on diabetes was examined in the Hawaii component of the Multiethnic Cohort. The 75,512 Caucasian, Japanese American, and Native Hawaiian participants aged 45-75 y at baseline completed a FFQ. After 14 y of follow-up, 8587 incident diabetes cases were identified through self-reports and health plans. We applied Cox regression stratified for age at cohort entry and adjusted for ethnicity, BMI, physical activity, education, and total energy with further stratifications by sex and ethnicity. When comparing extreme quintiles, total fiber intake was associated with reduced diabetes risk among all men [hazard ratio (HR): 0.75; 95% CI: 0.67, 0.84; P-trend < 0.001) and women (HR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.06; P-trend = 0.05). High intake of grain fiber reduced diabetes risk significantly by 10% in men and women. High vegetable fiber intake lowered risk by 22% in all men but not women. Mg intake reduced risk (HR = 0.77 and 0.84 for men and women, respectively) and, due to its strong correlation with fiber (r = 0.83; P < 0.001), may explain the protective effect of fiber. The top GL quintile was associated with a significantly elevated diabetes incidence in Caucasian men and in all women except Japanese Americans. Overall, several associations were more pronounced in Caucasians than in the other groups. These findings suggest that protection against diabetes can be achieved through food choices after taking into account body weight, but, due to differences in commonly consumed foods, risk estimates may differ by ethnic group.

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