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Fiber, A Key To Managing Diabetes

May 17, 2008
One of the most important things that diabetics need to be aware of in their diet is their fiber intake. It may even be the second most important thing to focus on besides sugar intake. In fact, studies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes can lower their blood glucose significantly by increasing the amount of dietary fiber to exceed the amount recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

What is fiber you ask? Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested. Since fiber cannot be digested or absorbed, fiber has no calories. You can find fiber on a nutritional label listed under carbohydrates, but since they have not calories, you can subtract the fiber from the carbohydrate amount listed on the label and come up with the "net carbs".

Fiber comes in two different forms, soluble which dissolves in water and insoluble which does not dissolve in water. It is found in legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Diabetes benefit from fiber because it helps the body to slow down the metabolism of sugars. Instead of having a blood sugar spike after eating, the fiber makes the sugars and carbohydrates break down slowly over a long period of time. This means that blood sugar levels should stay lower and more stable for a longer period of time.

Another reason why fiber is so good for diabetics is because fiber makes us feel full. When we are full, we are less likely to snack on bad foods. You can add fiber to any meal and this can help you to eat less and consume fewer calories and less bad carbohydrates.

The study on diabetes suggests that people with type 2 diabetes eat much more that the 24 grams of fiber recommended by the ADA. The trick to doing this safely is to do it slowly. Do not just jump right in with 50 grams of fiber a day or you may experience some very negative symptoms like cramping bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Instead, gradually increase your fiber by 3-5 grams per day until you reach 45-50 grams per day. It is important to remember to drink plenty of water while consuming this much fiber as without the water, that much fiber can be constipating.

Some easy ways to increase your daily fiber intake includes eating more fruits and vegetables with the skins on. You can add fiber, cereal grains, or granola to yogurt. Eat oatmeal or another whole grain cereal for breakfast. When eating rice, choose brown or wild and not white. Eat more beans; beans are an excellent source of fiber.
About the Author
The author of this article recommends visiting Type II Diabetes Help to learn more about diabetes from a natural perspective.
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