Health Benefits of Fiber for Diabetes

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

It seems that the health benefits of fiber are never-ending. Research has shown that diet rich in the highest fiber foods lowers blood sugar levels as effectively as the use of prescribed oral hypoglycemic drugs. Individuals with type 2 diabetes generally eat less fiber than the general population. And although the American Diabetes Association has upped its daily dietary fiber recommendation to between 20 and 30 grams a day, that is still too low.

In one study, a group of diabetic individuals increased their fiber intake to roughly 50 grams a day (25 grams of insoluble fiber and 25 grams of soluble fiber). After only six weeks, those taking the extra fiber had lower blood glucose levels after meals and throughout the day. Total cholesterol levels dropped an average of 6.7 percent and triglycerides dropped 10.2 percent. 

Adding additional fiber to the diet is not difficult. In the above study, the individuals did so by simply including more of the highest fiber foods—items such as cantaloupes, oranges, papayas, sweet potatoes, winter squash, granola, oatmeal, et cetera.

Whole ground flaxseed is another good source of fiber and essential fatty acids. Whole foods like these contain both soluble and insoluble fibers (as well as hundreds of other components) in contrast to isolated soluble fiber supplements or powders like psyllium, guar, and pectin.

Increasing your dietary fiber is a far better solution than using oral hypoglycemic drugs if both options achieve the same goal. However, I would suggest that you not take your multivitamin/mineral supplement with a high-fiber meal. Take it with another meal or by itself, as the fiber interferes with the absorption of some minerals and fat-soluble components.

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