Fiber Foods That Help Steady High Blood Sugar Levels

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Fiber is great for balancing high blood sugar levels, but which fiber foods are best—legumes or grains?

Pass the peas, please. In a study, a diet high in lentils, nuts, peas, and other legumes seemed to be more helpful than a diet high in wheat fiber when it came to tamping down high blood sugar levels.

A Hill of Beans
Mmmm. Love those legumes. And, lucky for lovers of legumes, beans are fiber foods that tend to have a low glycemic index—meaning they are digested slowly by the body and have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. So much so that when people with type 2 diabetes were told to emphasize legumes in their diet as part of a study, their average blood sugar over time was lower than that of the group who'd been directed to eat more whole grains.

Go for Balance
The difference was modest for the two study groups but was still significant enough to translate into better protection from heart disease. Researchers suspect that the difference was because the legume-laden diet had a lower glycemic index—and slightly more fiber—than the diet that emphasized grains. The legume eaters were also encouraged to eat high-fiber foods like fruits and veggies. Bottom line: A low-glycemic-index diet seemed to be best for controlling high blood sugar levels. To get there, you may need to trade that side of brown rice for an occasional bowl of beans. Try these other strategies for getting a firmer grip on blood sugar:

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