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Fiber for Diabetes

Fiber is an all-important part of the food we eat. Fiber is part of complex carbohydrates and is not completely digested by the body. Fiber is divided into soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is fiber that does not get completely digested, while insoluble fiber passes through the body as it is. There is even a third kind of fiber called fermentable fiber.
This type of fiber ferments in the colon, producing organisms good for the health of colon. Most soluble fiber is fermentable fiber. One such fiber is found in apple and berries. It is called ‘pectin’.

Soluble fiber keeps you full for a longer period of time. It slowly digests your food, regulating the glucose in the blood for diabetics. Insoluble fiber passes through undigested, but it keeps the colon and the digestive tract healthy, preventing conditions like colon cancer and diverticulitis. It is, therefore, extremely important to include fiber in your diet in order to regulate your digestive system and remedy conditions like constipation. Increasing your consumption of fiber can reduce the risk for many lifestyle diseases like hypertension, obesity and even diabetes. More on diet for diabetes

Dietary Fiber For Diabetics

It is beneficial for diabetics to learn to read food labels, as dietary fiber is categorized under carbohydrates. Foods high in fiber are also low on the glycemic index. A glycemic index will determine how high a specific food item will increase our blood sugar level.  Foods that have a high glycemic index release glucose much faster and foods with a low index are digested slowly. It helps the diabetics to control the sugar that is released into the system. Counting your carbohydrates and in turn monitoring your fiber intake can make a big difference to how you manage your sugar levels. The fiber in carbohydrates is actually ‘useful carbohydrates’.

Healthy adults should eat about 20-35 grams of dietary fiber every day. Here are some important tips on how to include fiber in your everyday diet:

  • Start choosing the fruit instead of the fruit juice – orange instead of orange juice, pineapples instead of pineapple juice and apples instead of apple juice.
  • Replace all ‘white’ items in your meals with ‘brown’. Substitute whole wheat bread for white bread, whole wheat or whole meal pasta instead of regular pasta, brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Start your day with a good whole grain breakfast. Oats or barley is a good place to start.
  • Pick carrot sticks or celery stalks instead of chips and chocolate for snacks.
  • Try plant-based protein instead of meat. Legumes and lentils are a good addition to salads, soups and stews. You can try different cuisines that incorporate these into their meals.
  • Remember to also incorporate more water into your diet. It keeps the fiber moving in your system and keeps you hydrated and largely toxin-free.
  • If you are looking to making preventive changes in your life, you should increase your fiber intake to about 50 grams a day. Studies have shown it can make a substantial difference to the quality of your life if you consume good amounts of fiber early on. You need to pick a high fiber diet. Low carbohydrate or low fat should not necessarily be the focus as those repercussions can be longer lasting. Often people like to resort to pills instead of eating the actual food. In this case, only the actual fiber in the food can help you.
Submitted on January 16, 2014