How can fiber help regulate blood sugar levels, and what are some good fiber sources for people with diabetes?

June 22, 2023 2 min read

How can fiber help regulate blood sugar levels, and what are some good fiber sources for people with diabetes?

Fiber has been found to have a positive impact on blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the body and does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Instead, it helps slow down the absorption of other carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. In this way, consuming high-fiber foods can be a helpful strategy for individuals with diabetes looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the digestive tract largely intact. Both types of fiber can be beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels, but soluble fiber is particularly effective.

Soluble fiber has been found to slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, which can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. This is because the gel-like substance formed by soluble fiber slows down the passage of food through the digestive tract, which means that glucose is absorbed more slowly. This can help individuals with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and reduce their risk of complications associated with high blood sugar levels.

Some good sources of soluble fiber include:

  • Oatmeal and oat bran
  • Barley
  • Lentils and other legumes
  • Apples, oranges, and other fruits
  • Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts

Insoluble fiber can also be beneficial for individuals with diabetes, as it helps to keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly. This can be particularly important for individuals with diabetes, as they are at an increased risk of developing digestive issues such as constipation. Some good sources of insoluble fiber include:

  • Whole wheat products, such as bread and pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans

Overall, consuming a diet rich in fiber can be a helpful strategy for individuals with diabetes looking to manage their blood sugar levels. By slowing down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, fiber can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications associated with high blood sugar levels. Incorporating a variety of fiber-rich foods into the diet can help ensure that individuals with diabetes are getting the full range of health benefits associated with this important nutrient.

References:

  • American Diabetes Association. (2021). Fiber. https://www.diabetes.org/nutrition/healthy-food-choices-made-easy/fiber
  • Anderson, J. W., Baird, P., Davis, R. H., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V., & Williams, C. L. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews, 67(4), 188-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x
  • Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Axelsen, M., Augustin, L. S., Vuksan, V., & Faulkner, D. (2000). Viscous and nonviscous fibres, nonabsorbable and low glycaemic index carbohydrates, blood lipids and coronary heart disease. Current Opinion in Lipidology, 11(1), 49-56. doi: 10.1097/00041433-200002000-00007


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