Top Fiber Foods for Diabetes

Top Fiber Foods for Diabetes

Fiber is a key component of a healthy diet. Fiber-rich foods improve satiety, so if you are getting adequate fiber you may consume fewer calories per day. Furthermore, fiber slows the rate at which blood glucose rises, decreases insulin secretion, and minimizes or eliminates fat storage.

All of this is important for anyone, but especially for diabetics. Consciously choosing high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and grains makes a crucial difference in long-term health.

How much fiber should diabetics eat?

Diabetics need 14 grams of mixed soluble and water-insoluble fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. This is the same recommendation for all people. If you were eating only 2,500 calories per day, that would still be 35 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, most people eat far more than 2,500 calories and the average fiber consumption is a mere 15 grams.[1]

That’s a major public health issue, because low fiber intake strongly correlates with everything from obesity to heart disease, poor gastrointestinal health, and insulin resistance! Needless to say, the problem is especially critical for the diabetic population. Dietary fiber slows the rate at which carbohydrates digest, so blood glucose rises more slowly.

Consequently, less insulin is released, and it is unlikely insulin resistance will develop. Adding dietary fiber has somewhat the same effect as adopting a low glycemic load diet because both promote fewer and smaller insulin peaks and valleys. In such an environment, the healthy individual is unlikely to lose insulin sensitivity, and the diabetic will find it easier to keep blood glucose on an even keel.

Fiber has additional, and related, benefits. For one, diabetics can effectively count only half their fiber carbohydrate grams when assessing the caloric load of meals. So if your meal contained 50 grams of carbs but 20 of them were fiber, then you have effectively consumed only 40 grams of carbs. Also, another type of fiber, resistant starch, is used by large intestine bacteria to make short-chain fatty acids that confer protection against inflammation and colon cancer.

What are the top fiber foods for diabetics?

Choosing fiber rich foods takes a little planning. You will want to meet other nutritional requirements while getting your fiber, and if possible, choose lower glycemic index (GI) foods, too. Some useful ones are[2]:

  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Blackberries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole kernel rye

These foods are rich sources of magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and hundreds of phytonutrients that improve health while decreasing disease risks. Oatmeal has proven power for lowering cholesterol. Compounds in rye have been shown to attack diabetes directly, silencing genes that participate in the progression of diabetes.

Even if you do not have diabetes, there is a lifetime of good health to be gained by choosing fiber-rich foods consistently, and most likely freedom from metabolic syndrome or even diabetes itself. That’s something for you to chew on...