The Truth About Fiber and Diabetes

fiber and diabetesHigh fiber diets have been popular for type 2 diabetes for a quite some time now. But there’s a good reason why fiber and diabetes go together like butter and toast.

In fact, the ADA, who doesn’t recommend low-carb or high protein diets, does recommend high fiber diets.

There’s a good reason for this. And the ADA has it right as far as I’m concerned.

Fiber is without doubt, probably the most important nutrient for diabetes control and weight loss with diabetes.

Don’t believe me? Well let me explain…

Fiber and Diabetes Explained

Carbohydrates, which about 90-100% of them all convert to glucose (sugar) in the body consist of sugars, starches and fibers.

Fibers can’t be broken down and converted to glucose, which is the energy source for most of the body’s cells.

Fibers are made up of glucose and other structures. But us humans can’t digest fibers. This is very important.

So what happens is fiber adds filler to your stomach without all of the added calories. And on top of this it takes longer to break it down.

So you feel walk around feeling satisfied for longer with fiber, which helps aid in weight loss.

Think about that in contrast to a candy bar. Before long, you’re starving and feeling like it time to eat again, your blood sugar goes crazy and your insulin spikes to lower it.

Not the case with fiber.

The High Fiber Diabetic Diet

A good source of fiber has at least 4-5 grams. But stick with me for a couple seconds and I’m going to show you a couple of foods that trump this.

But for starters, fiber is found in grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils.

NOTE: Fiber can only come from plants, not meat, fish or dairy products.

There are two forms of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes bulky in your stomach and works throughout your digestive tract. Research has shown that soluble fiber improves blood sugar control, while aiding in weight control and also improves blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber can be found in oatmeal, oat bran, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils) and fruits and most vegetables.

Insoluble fiber absorbs a small amount of water and adds bulk to your lower intestines only, not your stomach. Insoluble fiber isn’t as effective as soluble fiber. Soluble fiber sources include whole grains (whole grain breads) fruits, and vegetables, and seeds.

Don’t get caught up in thinking that there is a need to start looking for only soluble fiber though. Most fibrous foods contain a mixture of both of these forms of fiber.

High Fiber Foods for Diabetics 

Here are 6 of the highest fiber foods per serving out there in order:

  1. Prunes – (1 cup) 13.7 grams*
  2. Raspberries – (1 cup) 7.5 grams
  3. Blackberries – (1 cup) 7.2 grams
  4. Pinto beans – (1/2 cup) 5.9 grams
  5. Kidney beans – (1/2 cup) 5.48 grams
  6. Brown rice – (1/2 cup) 5.27 grams

*Prunes have almost 2 times the amount of fiber per serving as raspberries which are second on this list are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron and about double the antioxidants as raspberries.

In addition to all of these health benefits, prunes (unsweetened prunes, not prune juice) have a low glycemic index which won’t negatively impact your blood sugar while also helping to aid in weight loss because of their high fiber content.

So there you have it. Be sure to add more fiber your arsenal for controlling type 2 diabetes. It’s that important.

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