High cereal fiber and low-glycemic index (GI) diets are associated with reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in cohort studies. Clinical trial evidence on event incidence is lacking. Therefore, to make trial outcomes more directly relevant to CVD, we compared the effect on carotid plaque development in diabetes of a low-GI diet versus a whole-grain wheat-fiber diet.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The study randomized 169 men and women with well-controlled type 2 diabetes to counseling on a low GI-diet or whole-grain wheat-fiber diet for 3 years. Change in carotid vessel wall volume (VWV) (prespecified primary end point) was assessed by MRI as an indication of arterial damage.
Of 169 randomized participants, 134 completed the study. No treatment differences were seen in VWV. However, on the whole-grain wheat-fiber diet, VWV increased significantly from baseline, 23 mm3 (95% CI 4, 41; P = 0.016), but not on the low-GI diet, 8 mm3 (95% CI −10, 26; P = 0.381). The low-GI diet resulted in preservation of renal function, as estimated glomerular filtration rate, compared with the reduction following the wheat-fiber diet. HbA1c was modestly reduced over the first 9 months in the intention-to-treat analysis and extended with greater compliance to 15 months in the per-protocol analysis.
Since the low-GI diet was similar to the whole-grain wheat-fiber diet recommended for cardiovascular risk reduction, the low-GI diet may also be effective for CVD risk reduction.