The beneficial influences of xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) obtained from alkali-pretreated corncob and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) obtained from cane sugar were evaluated in experimental diabetes. These oligosaccharides were supplemented at 10 % (w/w) in the basal diet of streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats, while the control rats were fed with a basal diet for a period of 6 weeks. Both the oligosaccharides exerted favourable influences in diabetic rats by significantly improving body weight and reducing hyperglycaemia and cholesterol. The characteristic diabetic complications such as severe glucosuria, proteinuria and advanced glycation end products in renal tissue, diabetic nephropathy, and blood creatinine and urea concentrations were notably reduced. Besides, these oligosaccharide supplementations significantly increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes – catalase and glutathione reductase – in the blood of diabetic rats. Supplementation of XOS and FOS resulted in a significant increase in the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli population in the caecum. The present study indicates that XOS and FOS have an ameliorating influence on metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes, besides conferring an optimal milieu of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, thus suggesting their potential health benefit in diabetics.