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Will fiber in my diet help me with my diabetes?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes a high fiber diet will help you manage your blood sugar levels and help to lower cholesterol levels if you choose foods high in soluble fiber. High fiber foods are slower absorbed and can help prevent spikes in blood sugar. If you count carbohydrates as part of your eating plan and the fiber content is 5 grams or more per serving, you can deduct half of the fiber grams from the total carbohydrate to count as your carb serving. For example, if the label on a cracker box says 20 grams of carbohydrate for 20 crackers and the fiber content is 8 grams, you can deduct 4 grams from the total carb of 20 grams to give you 16 grams of carbohydrate for that serving of 20 crackers.

People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease. Soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol levels. Examples of sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, oat bran, beans (like pinto, black beans, and red beans), lentils, apples, oranges, and pears.

High-fiber diets may be beneficial to you, particularly if you have high blood fats or impaired glucose tolerance. Fiber is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, beans, and cereals, such as wheat and oats. Insoluble fibers like cellulose, found in wheat bran and celery, are dense and chewy. Soluble fibers, in whole oats and green peas, are soft and rather gel-like when mixed with water. Most fiber is not absorbed by the body, so it passes out in the stool. Any compounds that are bound by fiber in the intestine are also not absorbed. Many studies have been done to determine whether fiber is beneficial. Most studies show a positive (although limited) effect on blood fats. That's why high-fiber diets usually lower blood cholesterol. Some studies (primarily in type 2 diabetes) have also shown an improvement in blood glucose levels, but this improvement is usually small. You can add high-fiber foods, such as whole grains and beans, to your meals. Another way to increase the fiber in your diet is to take a tablespoon of pseudophilin (Metamucil) before you go to sleep.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.