How Adding Fiber in your Diet Helps Type 2 Diabetes
How This Helps
Individuals who eat high fiber diets have improved blood glucose control and better success with weight reduction. Both of these factors play significant roles in successful diabetes management. Studies have shown that increased consumption of dietary fiber results in lower postprandial glucose levels following a carbohydrate rich meal. Fiber also improves insulin sensitivity which is beneficial for diabetics, where insulin resistance is a challenge. Dietary fiber provides several additional benefits, which include aiding with regularity of bowel movements, increased satiety, weight loss reduction, controlling cravings, and improving cholesterol. Take advantage of the benefits a high fiber diet by making simple, practical changes to your eating habits.
Science and Research
Learn how adding fiber and whole grains helps you with control of Diabetes Type 2
Type II Diabetes comes with an overwhelming amount of disease management and nutritional advice. With so many recommendations on what to do, how to eat and when, it quickly becomes difficult to make the appropriate food choices when trying to manage this chronic illness. Focusing on a whole foods, high fiber diet may help make these choices easier.
The recommended amount of fiber is at least 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men. However, studies have found that Americans only average about 15 grams of fiber a day, about half of the recommended total dietary fiber intake. Increase your dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Filling your plate with these whole, unprocessed foods is the first step to take toward increasing your fiber consumption. Consistently eating well-balanced meals that include these foods will ensure the appropriate amount of dietary fiber consumption.
Eating too many carbohydrates is a common concern for diabetics, mainly because this macronutrient turns to sugar in the blood stream. It is the quality of carbohydrates that should be of greater concern, rather than the quantity. Consuming carbohydrates with high fiber content can reduce the glucose levels after a meal. Because fiber is not broken down by the body, it has no effect on blood glucose. Therefore, the grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carbs you are eating. Take this into consideration when making food choices. Seek out options with a good fiber to carbohydrate ratio to reduce the foods impact on blood glucose levels.
Make it a habit to include fruits and vegetables with each meal.
Vegetables high in fiber include leafy greens, squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They can be enjoyed in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and salads and steamed as a side dish.
Many fruits are also high in fiber, like apples, pears, oranges, peaches and more. Berries are an especially great fiber choice because while they are high in fiber, they are also low in calorie. Incorporate fruits into your diet as a convenient snack or as toppings for breakfast cereal, yogurt, salads, and desserts.
Whole grains are a popular and simple way to increase dietary fiber. The downfall with this is that many whole grain foods are overly processed and the labeling can be misleading. Beware of processed cereals and bars as they often have high sugar content and less fiber compared to other dietary fiber options. Swap the usual white bread for whole wheat bread and exchange white rice for brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley or other ancient grains. Consider different types of pasta options like whole wheat pasta, edamame pasta, or lentil pasta.
Nuts and seeds also provide a great source of fiber. A handful of these packs a powerful fiber punch. They make for a nutritious snack, or extra addition to yogurts, salads and desserts.
Don’t forget about beans and legumes. These are one of the most naturally rich sources of fiber. If you experience gas and discomfort with high bean intake, consider starting off slowly when introducing these into your diet.
Nutrition is a key factor in diabetes management. Increasing fiber in your diet through the recommended foods discussed here is a small, simple change that can have a pronounced impact on blood sugar control.
Tips to Consider When Increasing Your Fiber in your diet:
- Keep edible skin on fruits and veggies
- Limit starchy foods
- - Reduce foods high in sugar (especially added sugars)
- - Increase fiber consumption gradually
- - Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to avoid constipation
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines
- Gabriele Riccardi, MD and Angela Rivellese, MD. Effects of Dietary Fiber and Carbohydrate on Glucose and Lipoprotein Metabolism in Diabetic Patients.
- Martin O. Weickert and Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer. Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes