Note: this post has been updated in June 2023.
Is Fiber Good For Diabetics?
You may have heard about eating a high-fiber diet to manage your diabetes effectively. High fiber is helpful because of the way your body processes dietary fiber. Nutritionists, general practitioners, and doctors specializing in treating diabetes patients all agree a diet rich in fiber is essential to minimize the impact diabetes has on your life. One way to be sure you get enough fiber in your diet is to eat a plant-based diet. Let's look at how dietary fiber helps those with diabetes stay healthy. An excellent resource for additional information on managing diabetes is to view Diabetes and Diet: Here's What You Need to Know.
How Fiber Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Treating diabetes means taking action to regulate a healthy blood sugar level. When blood glucose levels are consistently lower or higher than the healthy range, a diabetic diagnosis is confirmed. Nerve damage, kidney failure, vision problems, and other severe health conditions can develop when diabetes is untreated. So, effective treatment is necessary. One straightforward way to help keep your diabetes in check is to give your body more fiber.
Here is what happens when you eat fiber.
Eating foods with plenty of fiber, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, aid in sustaining a healthy digestive process. They contain lignin, pectin, cellulose, and other natural components resistant to the enzymes used to digest your foods. Roughage is one of the reasons fiber is good for relieving constipation. Also called roughage or bulk, dietary fiber is either soluble or insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and it is in beans, apples, carrots, citrus fruits, barley, and oats. This type of fiber naturally lowers your cholesterol level if it is high, promoting heart health. Soluble fiber is also suitable for helping you manage a healthy glucose level.
Insoluble fiber helps keep you "regular." This fiber is found in whole-wheat flour and grains, wheat bran, cauliflower, potatoes, and nuts. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and your body does not digest insoluble fiber. It passes through your system primarily intact, attaching itself to waste products, toxins, and other unhealthy chemicals. It carries these health deterrents out of your body and can help you reach and manage healthy body weight.
Most plant-based foods contain some amounts of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Since both types of fiber contribute to healthy diabetes management, you should eat various high-fiber, plant-based foods. Plant-based foods help ensure you get plenty of both types of fiber in your system, giving you the best chance to manage your diabetes naturally.
The Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet
Whether you have diabetes, are prediabetic, or otherwise healthy, your body can benefit from lots of fiber. When you get the daily recommended dose of 25 g of fiber regularly, you cut your risk of stroke by 7%. You slow your body's glucose absorption, which means you keep blood sugar spikes under control. Regularly getting more than the minimum 25 g of fiber each day leads to healthy weight loss and can lower your risk of developing kidney stones by as much as 22%.
For every 7 g of fiber you consume, you drop your risk of debilitating and possibly deadly heart disease by 9%. In addition to effective diabetes management, which means consuming 28 g of fiber daily lowers your risk of developing any heart disease by at least 36%.
Avoid simple carbohydrates like refined sugar and processed foods, and eat more naturally healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Drink sufficient water daily to aid in the digestive process. Your high-fiber diet will keep you feeling full longer and avoid the dangerous blood glucose spikes and drops that are problematic to people with diabetes.
Is fiber suitable for people with diabetes? This question receives many inquiries as many do not think of fiber and diabetes simultaneously. As we have discussed, regular use of fiber in foods can help keep your blood sugar under control. Is fiber good for diabetics? The answer is clear, Yes!
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