Fiber’s Role in the Management of Diabetes

There is a misconception that eliminating carbohydrates from the diet will improve Diabetes symptoms or even prevent Diabetes. However, did you know that fiber, which can be found in carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruit, whole grains, and legumes, is actually a key nutrient in the management of diabetes?

According to the latest data, the average American adult eats a total of 10-15 grams of fiber per day, which is far from the recommended daily amount of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
 
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble = remains unchanged during digestion, promotes normal movement of intestinal contents, speeds food through digestive tract, and prevents constipation. Found in: fruits with edible peel or seeds, vegetables, whole grain products (whole-wheat bread, pasta and crackers), bulgur wheat, stone ground cornmeal, cereals, bran, rolled oats, buckwheat and brown rice.
 
Soluble = attracts water and turns into gel during digestion, increases stool bulk (which helps if you have diarrhea), and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Found in: fruit (such as apples, oranges and grapefruit), vegetables, legumes (dry beans, lentils and peas), barley, oats and oat bran.
 
How does fiber help control blood sugar?
Fiber (particularly soluble fiber) helps slow down the digestion rate of carbohydrates, which aids in blood sugar control and insulin response. If you are going to eat a starchy food, it is best to add some fiber to the meal to help slow down the absorption of sugar. Additionally, soluble fiber helps slow down the digestion of saturated fat, which is a big contributor to Type 2 Diabetes. Fiber also helps keep you full, which is important when you are trying to watch your caloric intake.

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