Regardless of how you choose to count it in your carb totals click here, fiber is very important for everyone, but especially important for diabetics. Not only is it helpful in regulating bowel functions, but it can also help lessen the impact of spikes from carbs in your diet.
It can also lower your risk for heart disease (diabetics already have an increased risk for heart disease) by helping to reduce cholesterol levels.
There are two types of fiber:
Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium among other foods.
If you’ve just started taking Metformin and are experiencing the “Metformin Mambo” increasing fiber can also help with this (yes it’s really true .
Here are some other benefits:
- Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. For some, fiber may provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome(IBS).
- Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels(LDL). Epidemiologic studies have shown that increased fiber in the diet can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which is also protective to heart health.
- Helps control blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. All that chewing also uses more calories, right? Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Uncertain effect on colorectal cancer. Evidence that dietary fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed — some studies show benefit, some show nothing and some suggest increased risk.
The ADA recommendations are for between 20 -25 grams per day.
Good sources of dietary fiber include:
Beans and legumes. Think black beans, kidney beans, pintos, chick peas (garbanzos), white beans, and lentils.
Fruits and vegetables, especially those with edible skin (for example, apples, corn and beans) and those with edible seeds (for example, berries).
Whole grains such as:
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole grain cereals (Look for those with three grams of dietary fiber or more per serving, including those made from whole wheat, wheat bran, and oats.)
- Whole grain breads (To be a good source of fiber, one slice of bread should have at least three grams of fiber. Another good indication: look for breads where the first ingredient is a whole grain. For example, whole wheat or oats.) Many grain products now have “double fiber” with extra fiber added. The bread I use is both low-carb and double fiber. Be cautious however because whole grains have just as many carbs as refined white grains!
Nuts— try different kinds. Peanuts, walnuts and almonds are a good source of fiber and healthy fat, but watch portion sizes, because they also contain a lot of calories in a small amount.
One caution, if you’re just starting to add more fiber to your diet, start out slowly or gas and other problems could develop if you try to add too much too quickly.
Another caution is that fiber can affect the absorption of certain medications and nutritional supplements. If you’re going to have a high-fiber meal, wait at least 2 hours after before taking any of these.
For diabetics it’s alway a good idea to include protein, carbs, and a small amount of fat in each meal. The protein and fat help with the absorption of carbs, as does fiber. But in regard to just how much the fiber lowers the spike from carbs always use your meter to decide. Everyone is different an example would be oatmeal. Some people do fine with whole grain steel-cut oats mixed with some protein and fat. Others can’t even look at it without spiking. So you have to test to see how things work for your body.
So now you see why fiber is your friend. It just won’t lend you any money (I know groaaaan).
Source: click here
© EMO 4/12
Knowledge is Power