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How Does Fiber Reduce Blood Sugar?

Nature's Best Sugar Blockers

Nature's Best Sugar Blockers

You may have heard that whole grain products are high in fiber. However, the starch in grains quickly turns to sugar and overwhelms any blood sugar-blocking effect the fiber might have. Of course, all fruits and vegetables contain sugar; that's what makes them carbohydrates. Nevertheless, most contain proportionately more soluble fiber than sugar, so they don't raise blood sugar as much as grain products and other refined carbohydrates do. Keeping blood sugar steady is an important tool for preventing insulin spikes, which can lock fat into your cells and prevent it from being used for energy. The substance in our diet that's most responsible for these blood sugar surges is starch. But the good news is you can blunt the blood sugar-raising effects by taking advantage of natural substances in foods—like fiber in fruits and veggies—that slow carbohydrate digestion and entry into the bloodstream. You can tell which fruits and vegetables have the best balance of fiber to sugar by looking at their glycemic loads (Not sure what that means? See Glycemic Impact 101.). All of the carbohydrates that have been associated with increased risk of obesity or diabetes have glycemic loads greater than 100. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with glycemic loads less than 100 have been associated with reduced risk. Thus, you should avoid fruits or vegetables with glycemic loads higher than 100, even though they contain soluble fiber. Fruits and vegetables whose glycemic loads are between 50 and 100 are themselves acceptable to eat, but they release enough glucose to nullify their usefulness as sugar blockers. The best fruit and vegetable sugar blockers are those with glycemic loads less than 50. It takes about 10 grams of fiber to reduce the after-meal blood sugar surge from a s Continue reading >>

Metabolic Effects Of Dietary Fiber Consumption And Prevention Of Diabetes

Metabolic Effects Of Dietary Fiber Consumption And Prevention Of Diabetes

Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes Department of Clinical Nutrition, German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Germany and Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Charite-University-Medicine-Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected] . Search for other works by this author on: Department of Clinical Nutrition, German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Germany and Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Charite-University-Medicine-Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany Author disclosures: M. O. Weickert and A. F. H. Pfeiffer, no conflicts of interest Search for other works by this author on: The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 138, Issue 3, 1 March 2008, Pages 439442, Martin O. Weickert, Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer; Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 138, Issue 3, 1 March 2008, Pages 439442, A high dietary fiber (DF) intake is emphasized in the recommendations of most diabetes and nutritional associations. It is accepted that viscous and gel-forming properties of soluble DF inhibit macronutrient absorption, reduce postprandial glucose response, and beneficially influence certain blood lipids. Colonic fermentation of naturally available high fiber foods can also be mainly attributed to soluble DF, whereas no difference between soluble and insoluble DF consumption on the regulation of body weight has been observed. However, in prospective cohort studies, it is primarily insoluble cereal DF and whole grains, and not soluble DF, that is consistently associated with reduced diabetes risk, suggesting that further, unknown mechani Continue reading >>

The Super Fiber That Controls Your Appetite And Blood Sugar

The Super Fiber That Controls Your Appetite And Blood Sugar

IMAGINE EATING 12 POUNDS of food a day — and still staying thin and healthy. That may sound crazy, but it’s exactly what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate for millennia! And they didn’t have any obesity or chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or dementia. Of course, I wouldn’t advise anyone today to eat 12 pounds of food, because the food in our society lacks one major secret ingredient that our ancestors ate in nearly all their food — fiber! Fiber has so many health benefits that I want to focus on it in this blog. I’ll explain some of its benefits and give you 9 tips you can begin using today to get more fiber in your diet. I’ll also tell you about my favorite “super-fiber” that can help you increase your total fiber intake overnight. But before I tell you about what fiber can do for you, let’s a look a little more at the history of fiber. Why Bushmen are Healthier than the Average Westerner Dr. Dennis Burkitt, a famous English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and their “civilized” western counterparts. The bushmen seemed to be free of the scourges of modern life — including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Dr. Burkitt found that the average bushman had a stool weight of 2 pounds and the “civilized” men had a stool weight of only 4 ounces – that’s 87.5% smaller! The difference was in the amount of fiber they ate. Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from all manner of roots, berries, leaves and plant foods. And the fiber is what helped those ancestors of ours stay healthy. Just take a look at all the good things that fiber can do for your body. You need fiber to keep healthy from top to bottom Continue reading >>

Getting To Know Fiber: Supplements

Getting To Know Fiber: Supplements

How are you feeling about fiber these days? Do you have a better understanding of what insoluble, soluble, and functional fibers are? And most importantly, do you think you’re getting enough fiber in your diet? That’s really the question, isn’t it? Remember that the average person gets about 13 grams of fiber each day. Yet we all need more than that (14 grams per 1,000 calories) and only 10% of Americans get the amount of fiber that’s recommended. Dietitians will tell you that it’s best to get your fiber from food sources. Why? Because high-fiber foods offer other health and nutrition benefits, of course! So, your diet should include whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Yet, as is the case with many nutrients, sometimes we fall short. It’s during these times when it seems so much easier to be able to pop a pill or gulp down a drink that gives us what we need. And just as there are pills and supplements for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, there are supplements that contain fiber. Are these any good? Do they actually contain fiber? Are they harmful in any way? Let’s look. Fiber Supplements Stroll down one of the aisles of any drugstore and you’ll see fiber supplements. They’re often in powder, pill, or even wafer form. They seem appealing, especially to the person who dislikes whole wheat bread, bran flakes, or the skin of an apple. And why not take one if you can’t get enough from food? Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular types of supplements. Psyllium. Psyllium is a natural (as opposed to synthetic) type of soluble fiber that offers the following benefits: Promotes regularity Relieves constipation Lowers blood cholesterol May lower blood glucose Metamucil. Metamucil is a psyllium-based supplement that has been Continue reading >>

The Facts About Carbs, Fiber, And Diabetes

The Facts About Carbs, Fiber, And Diabetes

When you watch your diet because you have diabetes, you'll want to pay special attention to carbohydrates, because they can affect your blood sugar level faster than protein or fat. You get carbs from sweets, fruit, milk, yogurt, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, and other vegetables. It can help to count your carbs from things you eat or drink, and split them evenly between meals so that it’s in line with how much insulin is available from your body or from medicine. If you get more than your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level goes up. If you eat too few carbohydrates, your blood sugar level may fall too low. With carbohydrate counting, you can pick almost any food product off the shelf, read the label, and use the information about grams of carbohydrates to fit the food into your meal plan. Counting carbs is most useful for people who use insulin several times a day or wear an insulin pump, or want more flexibility and variety in their food choices. The amount and type of insulin you are prescribed may affect the flexibility of your meal plan. You don’t have to count carbs. You could use diabetes food exchange lists instead. Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for their advice on that. Fiber helps control blood sugar. It also helps you lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Most Americans need more fiber in their diets. The average American only gets about half the fiber needed on a daily basis. You get fiber from plant foods, so plan to eat more of these foods: Cooked dried beans and peas Whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers Brown rice Bran products Nuts and seeds Although it’s best to get fiber from food sources, fiber supplements can also help you get the daily fiber you need. Examples include psyllium and methylcellulose. Incre Continue reading >>

6 Reasons A High-fiber Diet Is Insanely Healthy For Diabetes

6 Reasons A High-fiber Diet Is Insanely Healthy For Diabetes

Fiber directly improves insulin sensitivity iStock A number of studies have found that eating more dietary fiber for a period of weeks or months is linked to a reduction in biomarkers for insulin resistance. This may be due in part to dietary fiber’s anti-inflammatory effects—high-fiber diets have been associated with reduced blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for systemic inflammation—and also to the fact that the short-chain fatty acids that fiber produces when it ferments in the intestinal tract tend to inhibit the breakdown of the body’s fat stores into free fatty acids. This breakdown of fat stores appears to play a major role in creating insulin resistance in the skeletal muscles. iStock Soluble fiber’s general effect of slowing down the digestive process means that the carbohydrates we eat take longer to be broken down into glucose. As a result, the release of glucose into the blood after eating tends to occur more slowly over a longer period of time following a high-fiber meal. This means that glucose doesn’t rise to as high a peak after eating, putting less stress on the glucose metabolism process. iStock The same fermentation process that signals the body to become more responsive to insulin also suppresses glucose production in the liver—countering the liver’s glucose overproduction that occurs as the result of insulin resistance. Fiber makes you feel more full so it’s easier to eat less iStock A number of studies have found that people who eat diets high in fiber feel more full after eating and also feel less hungry between meals. For starters, dietary fiber is simply bulkier than other nutrients. This causes the stomach to become more distended when you eat fiber, which sends appetite-suppressing signals to the brain. Soluble fib Continue reading >>

How To Get More Fiber If You Have Diabetes

How To Get More Fiber If You Have Diabetes

Even dressed up, 50 grams of daily fiber is a lot to pack away.(ISTOCKPHOTO)If youve got type 2 diabetes, the quality of food is as important as the quantity. And fiber is the best stuff around. Fiber itself doesnt raise blood sugar because it can't be digested, and that's good. But even better, it can blunt the impact that carbohydrates have on blood sugar. The reason? The intestines take a bit more time to digest fiber-rich foods, and that slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream. You need to check labels and add more fiber A 2000 study of 13 patients showed that patients with diabetes who consumed 50 grams of fiber each day lowered their glucose levels 10% and insulin levels 12% more than those who consumed 24 grams of fiber a day. The problem is that 50 grams of fiber per day is a lot of fiber. Most Americans consume only 15 grams every day, according to the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes eat 25 to 50 grams daily. While its tough to consume that much, its not impossible. "Check nutrition labels to see how much fiber there is in the foods you eat," says LuAnn Berry, RD, a certified diabetes educator and diabetes specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Then go back to the ones with the most grams of fiber per serving." Good sources of fiber include: Whole grain products, such as whole wheat bread Dried beans, including kidney, black and garbanzos, lentils Oats, which are found in oatmeal Apples and pears with their skins on Berry says you can eat the fiber-high foods alone or add them to recipesfor example, put beans in a salad. However, dont forget to calculate how much carbohydrate you are adding. A half-cup of beans, for example, has the same carbohydrate count as Continue reading >>

Effects Of Dietary Fiber And Carbohydrate On Glucose And Lipoprotein Metabolism In Diabetic Patients.

Effects Of Dietary Fiber And Carbohydrate On Glucose And Lipoprotein Metabolism In Diabetic Patients.

Abstract Dietary recommendations for the treatment of diabetic patients issued by national and international diabetes associations consistently emphasize the need to increase carbohydrate consumption. However, these recommendations have been questioned on the basis of growing evidence that, in both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients, a high-carbohydrate diet does not offer any advantage in terms of blood glucose and plasma lipid concentrations compared with a high-fat (mainly unsaturated) diet. It has been shown repeatedly that a high-carbohydrate diet increases plasma insulin and triglyceride levels and can deteriorate blood glucose control in the postprandial period. However, much of the controversy between advocates and detractors of dietary carbohydrate can be settled by taking into account dietary fiber. Several studies have shown that the adverse metabolic effects of high-carbohydrate diets are neutralized when fiber and carbohydrate are increased simultaneously in the diet for diabetic patients. In particular, these studies demonstrated that a high-carbohydrate/high-fiber diet significantly improves blood glucose control and reduces plasma cholesterol levels in diabetic patients compared with a low-carbohydrate/low-fiber diet. In addition, a high-carbohydrate/high-fiber diet does not increase plasma insulin and triglyceride concentrations, despite the higher consumption of carbohydrates. Unfortunately, dietary fiber represents a heterogenous category, and there is still much to understand as to which foods should be preferred to maximize the metabolic effects of fiber. There are indications that only water-soluble fiber is active on plasma glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in humans. Therefore, in practice, the consumption of legumes, Continue reading >>

Nutrition And Healthy Eating

Nutrition And Healthy Eating

Eat more fiber. You've probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health? Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn't difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks. What is dietary fiber? Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body. Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn't dissolve. 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. 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, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber. Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amo Continue reading >>

How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels?

How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate (just like sugars and starches) but since it is not broken down by the human body, it does not contribute any calories. Yet, on a food label, fiber is listed under total carbohydrate. So this gets kind of confusing for people who have diabetes. Carbohydrate is the one nutrient that has the biggest impact on blood glucose. So, does fiber have any effect on your blood glucose? The answer is that fiber does not raise blood glucose levels. Because it is not broken down by the body, the fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels because it isn't digested. The grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carb you are eating if you are using carbohydrate counting for meal planning. So, fiber is a good thing for people with diabetes. Of course, most of the foods that contain fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas) also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrate (sugar, starch) that must be accounted for in your meal plan. The average person should eat between 20-35 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans eat about half that amount. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day — particularly soluble fiber — were able to control their blood glucose better than those who ate far less. So if fiber does not give us any calories, why exactly should you eat it? There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber keeps your digestive tract working well. Whole wheat bran is an example of this type of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol level and improve blood glucose control if eaten in large amounts. Oatmeal is an example of this type of fiber. Another ben Continue reading >>

Healthy Eating For Blood Sugar Control

Healthy Eating For Blood Sugar Control

If you have diabetes, a healthy eating plan for you is not that different from a healthy eating planfor people withoutdiabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) echoes the dietary guidelines recommended for the general public — that is, a diet centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (peas and beans), and low-fat dairy products. However, you'll want to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fiber. Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly — which means a more moderate rise in blood sugar. For most people with diabetes, carbohydrates should account for about 45% to 55% of the total calories you eat each day. Choose your carbohydrates wisely — ideally, from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as candy, sugary soft drinks, and sweets. Refined carbohydrates tend to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, and can even boost triglycerides and lower helpful HDL cholesterol. Fiber comes in two forms: insoluble fiber, the kind found in whole grains, and soluble fiber, found in beans, dried peas, oats, and fruits. Soluble fiber in particular appears to lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity, which may mean you need less diabetes medicine. And a number of studies suggest that eating plenty of fiber reduces the chances of developing heart disease — and people with diabetes need to do all they can to lower their risk. For more on healthy diet essentials, plus information on managing (and avoiding) type 2 diabetes, buy Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes from Harvard Medical School. Continue reading >>

Treating Diabetes With Fiber

Treating Diabetes With Fiber

I wrote last week about the amazing benefits of dietary fiber . But what is fiber? It comes in numerous forms. In this entry, well look at what type of fiber to eat, how much to have, and how to make it enjoyable and doable. Fiber is a catchall term for various kinds of plant matter. A common definition is this one from the Linus Pauling Institute: Dietary fiber is a diverse group of compounds, including lignin and complex carbohydrates, which cannot be digested by human enzymes in the small intestine. Because theyre not digested, they pass through into the large intestine. There they are colonized by bacteria and turned into short-chain fatty acids or SCFAs, which have wonderful effects on blood glucose, cholesterol, and the immune system. Scientists have classified fibers in several ways. One common classification is soluble versus insoluble. According to Amy Campbell, soluble fiber is the kind that turns into a gel in the intestines and slows down digestion. I think of it as being like cooked squash: a nice, soothing mush. Insoluble fiber doesnt break down as much. Its in things like carrots and oat bran. It helps to speed the passage of food through the digestive system and adds bulk to stool. If youre dealing with inflammatory bowel or irritable bowel , you want to maximize soluble and decrease insoluble fibers. But from a diabetes angle, it doesnt make much difference, because nearly all plant foods include both types, and both are good. Other terms used for soluble fibers are viscous and fermentable. All these terms are similar. They mean bacteria in the colon can ferment the fiber, and thats what we want. For the most part we can ignore these distinctions. The Institute of Medicine also classes fibers as dietary and functional. Dietary (or intact) fibers come f Continue reading >>

Fibre Reduces Insulin – How To Lose Weight X

Fibre Reduces Insulin – How To Lose Weight X

When we consider the nutritional benefits of food, we think about the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they contain. We think about components in the food that nourish the body. Fibre is completely different. The key to understanding fibre’s effect is to realize that the benefit lies not as a nutrient, but as an anti-nutrient. Fibre has the ability to reduce absorption and digestion. Fibre subtracts rather than adds. In the case of sugars and insulin, this is good. Soluble fibre reduces absorption of carbohydrates, which in turn reduces blood glucose and insulin levels. In one study, type 2 diabetic patients were given liquid meals containing 55% carbohydrates with or without the addition of dietary fibre. Fibre reduced both the glucose and the insulin peaks, despite consuming exactly the same amount of carbohydrates. Fibre acts as an anti-nutrient. Because insulin is the main driver of obesity and diabetes, reduction is beneficial. In essence, fibre acts as a sort of ‘antidote’ to the carbohydrate, which, in this analogy, is the ‘poison’. Carbohydrates, even sugar, are not literally poisonous, but comparison is useful to understand the effect of fibre. It is no coincidence that virtually all plant foods, in their natural, unrefined state contains fibre. Mother Nature has pre-packaged the ‘antidote’ with the ‘poison’. Thus, traditional societies may follow diets high in carbohydrate without evidence of obesity or Type 2 Diabetes. The Okinawans, for instance, base their diet upon the sweet potato, and consume an estimated 80% of their calories as carbohydrate. High fibre protects against obesity. Until recently, they were one of the longest-lived peoples on earth. The Kitavans of New Guinea followed a diet estimated to be close to 70% carbohydrate with Continue reading >>

15 Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

15 Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

High blood sugar occurs when your body can't effectively transport sugar from blood into cells. When left unchecked, this can lead to diabetes. One study from 2012 reported that 12–14% of US adults had type 2 diabetes, while 37–38% were classified as pre-diabetic (1). This means that 50% of all US adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally: Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream. Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction. If you have problems with blood sugar control, you should routinely check your levels. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting either too high or too low (2). Good forms of exercise include weight lifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming and more. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps your muscles pick up sugars from the blood. This can lead to reduced blood sugar levels. Your body breaks carbs down into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin moves the sugars into cells. When you eat too many carbs or have problems with insulin function, this process fails and blood glucose levels rise. However, there are several things you can do about this. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends controlling carb intake by counting carbs or using a food exchange system (3). Some studies find that these methods can also help you plan your meals appropriately, which may further improve blood sugar control (4, 5). Many studies also show that a low-carb diet helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood s Continue reading >>

Dietary Fiber Reduces Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Dietary Fiber Reduces Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Multi-country study finds that cereal fiber has the greatest impact on diabetes risk. Getting plenty of dietary fiber from cereal, fruits and vegetables helps decrease risk for type 2 diabetes, according to results of the world’s largest diabetes study published in Diabetologia. The EPIC-InterAct study investigated the relationship between dietary fiber and type 2 diabetes—a growing global public health issue. Type 2 diabetes currently affects more than 360 million people worldwide. This number is expected to increase to more than 550 million by 2030. Since risk for for type 2 diabetes is closely linked to diet, exercise and weight, the good news is that healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way in preventing this condition. In fact, studies suggest that simply having enough fiber in your diet can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, although most research on the issue was conducted in the United States. To expand upon these findings, researchers analyzed data from more than 26,000 adults from eight European countries, including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Among adults included in the study, 11,559 had type 2 diabetes and 15,258 did not. For nearly 11 years, researchers followed participants and collected information on diet, exercise and overall health. Overall, researchers found that individuals with the highest amount of fiber intake had 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest fiber consumption. When reviewing data from this and 18 additional studies, researchers also found that cereal fiber has the greatest impact on diabetes risk. For each 10 gram/day increase in fiber intake from cereal and oatmeal, risk of diabetes decreased by 25%. In comparison, an overall 10 gram/day increase of fiber from Continue reading >>

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