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A: Fiber can help stabilize your blood glucose. There are two major types of fiber: water soluble and insoluble. Foods high in soluble fiber in particular cause fewer rises in blood glucose after meals, because the fiber is digested slowly, delaying the absorption of carbohydrates.
Fiber is found only in plant foods, which also contain beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Because fiber adds bulk to the diet, it gives a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, which is helpful with weight management.
The American Dietetic Association recommends eating 20 to 35 grams of total fiber each day whether you have diabetes or not. The American Diabetes Association recommends that if a food has more than 5 grams of fiber per serving, you can subtract the amount of dietary fiber from the total amount of carbohydrate in the food. The experience of patients who test glucose levels after meals suggests that this reduction in carbohydrates is questionable since it doesn’t take into consideration the type of fiber, how much the food is processed or what the food is eaten with (for example, milk along with a high-fiber cereal). You might want to start by subtracting half of the fiber and checking your glucose after meals.
If you decide to add more fiber to your diet, do so slowly. Eating too much fiber without allowing your body time to adjust could cause abdominal discomfort and gas. Be sure to drink enough water and noncaffeinated liquids—at least 6 to 8 cups daily—to prevent constipation.
Fiber Content of Selected Foods*
|Food||Portion||Total Fiber in Grams||Soluble Fiber in Grams||Insoluble Fiber in Grams|
|Pinto beans||½ cup cooked||7.4||1.9||5.5|
|Kidney beans||½ cup cooked||5.8||2.9||2.9|
|Soybeans||½ cup cooked||5.1||2.3||2.8|
|Whole wheat bread||1 slice||1.9||0.3||1.6|
|Rye bread||1 slice||1.5||0.8||0.7|
|Oatmeal||1 cup cooked||3.8||1.8||2.0|
*Source: Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Nutrition Fact Sheet: Fiber. Accessed from http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutrition/factsheets/fiber.html.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.