Got fiber? Fiber is a vital part to any diabetic’s treatment plan. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, are you getting enough?
Numerous studies show diabetic individuals who consume more fiber have better diabetes management. The American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal has a great review article concerning everything you need to know about fiber in diabetes management. A main highlight of the study states that increased fiber in the diet is linked to improvement in diabetes management and better health.
The average American does not consume enough fiber. The requirements are 25 grams for women and 38 grams if you’re a man. Requirements are based on a calculation that calculates 14 grams of fiber per every 1000 calories eaten per day. Fiber intake requirements may vary according to the calories you intake(or are supposed to intake) each day.
What does fiber do? Fiber is primarily known for slowing down the digestion process of food. When food is digested slowly, you feel full for longer. Additionally glucose is absorbed over a greater amount of time when fiber is present. For diabetics, this means better control of blood sugar levels when more fiber is present.
Which foods have fiber? Fiber is found in a variety of foods. The list includes but is not limited to whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, vegetables, beans, and whole grain cereals. When you look at the nutrition label, fiber will be listed in the carbohydrate section. You can also check your pharmacy for fiber supplement products you can sprinkle over food. These can be a great source of fiber.
Which type of fiber should I have? There are 2 types of fiber and both have shown benefit for the management of diabetes. Fiber comes primarily from whole-grain, vegetables, and fruit. Insoluble fiber is all the material that your body does not digest. Therefore, this type of fiber adds bulk to your intestinal track which slows up the digestion process. Soluble fiber is referring to the extra “gunk”. This type of fiber also moves along the intestinal track but gets broken down before excretion. Both types of fiber help with regulation of the digestive track, which is very important for diabetics.
With Americans getting too little fiber on a daily basis, the amount of dietary fiber necessary to aid in diabetes will vary for each individual. Please consult your nutritionist for advice on increasing your fiber intake. In general, a gradual increase in fiber is recommended.
Overall, fiber can be a great addition to your diet. If you are diabetic, fiber is particularly important. Please speak with your physician, pharmacist, and/or nutritionist before making any changes to your dietary intake of fiber.
Sources: Journal of Diabetes Care, WebMD