9 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
How Fiber Helps Control High Blood Sugar
Getting at least the recommended daily amount of fiber into your diet can help you manage type 2 diabetes.
By Madeline R. Vann, MPH
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurLiving with DiabetesNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
Are you filling up on fiber? If you have type 2 diabetes, you should be — including high-fiber foods in your diet is a healthy way to control high blood sugar. As an added bonus, you may be able to stay full longer on the correct portion sizes than you would if you were eating more refined foods. And eating lots of soluble fiber (the kind found in oatmeal, beans, and apples, among other foods) may help reduce dangerous visceral belly fat, according to a recent study.
"Fiber promotes good bowel health, lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease, and also controls your blood sugar in a certain way," explains Amy Kranick, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the adult diabetes program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
When fiber is digested, your body handles it differently than the way in which refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, are digested. A portion of the fiber simply passes through your digestive system intact. This difference means that eating foods rich in fiber is less likely to cause a spike in high blood sugar.
"Fiber doesn't require insulin [to digest], so it isn't counted as part of your carbohydrates," says Kranick. As a result, when you are reading labels and budgeting daily carbohydrates, you can subtract half the grams of dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate count.
At the same time, you should be keeping track of how much fiber you eat. Adults need at least 25 grams of fiber daily for best health outcomes, says Kranick.
Other Benefits of Fiber
Fiber may also help you manage your overall eating habits, says Kranick.
Here are some of the additional benefits of eating high-fiber foods:
- Antioxidants.Many of the foods that contain fiber also contain antioxidants, which are generally good for your cells and your overall health. "The high-fiber items such as oats, the skin of fruits and potatoes, and beans are where the antioxidants are," Kranick says.
- Hunger control.Foods rich in fiber can help you feel full longer, staving off the hunger pangs that might lead to snacking on foods that will spike high blood sugar.
- Portion control.Because fiber fills you up, it's easier to stick to the proper portions. In contrast, refined foods that lack fiber tend to make you crave more — making it easier to eat in excess. "For some reason, it's much easier to keep eating Reese's Pieces than bowls of oatmeal," says Kranick.
How to Add Fiber to a Diabetes Diet
Kranick acknowledges that making the switch to fiber can be a challenge for some people with type 2 diabetes.
"Patients who have type 2 diabetes come here [to the clinic] because their diet tends to be high in calories and low in fiber," she says. Shifting that balance to a diabetes diet with more fiber and fewer calories takes work — and time. But she points out, it can be accomplished with a little education in label reading and fiber food sources. Here's what to do:
Read labels.You may be surprised by what you learn. For example, she says, a slice of whole-wheat bread with at least 3 grams of fiber is considered to be a fiber item. Use two to make a sandwich and add a small side salad or some fruit and you will be making a nice dent in your daily fiber goal. Remember to subtract the fiber grams from the total carbohydrates as you keep track of carbs. You want to look for:
- 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber per serving for a good source of fiber
- 5 grams or higher for a high-fiber serving
Know fiber foods.Here are some of the foods or ingredients you should look for:
- Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas
- Brown rice
- Avoid processed and refined foods.Kranick knows we are all pressed for time, but she warns that eating foods that are cheap, quick, and easy, or grabbing fast food on the go, means you are probably not going to get the fiber you need. Plan on adding some time to your food preparation habits, look for higher-fiber options like salads, or keep healthy snacks on hand — such as a handful of nuts, fresh fruit, or veggie slices and a healthy dip — to tide you over.
- Go slow.If you are new to fiber, increase your intake slowly. Your body will need time to adjust.
With a little bit of effort you can add fiber to your diet — and improve your overall health while controlling high blood sugar.
Video: Optimize Your Fiber Intake
How to Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath
This Styling Cream Gives You A Perfect Blowout Look In Just Under A Minute
How to Show Roller Coaster Etiquette
Handcrafted: Inside The Porsche 918 Assembly Line
Foods That Fight ADHD-Related Depression
How to Perk Up Wilting Flowers
Christopher Watts case: Father of killed wife breaks down in court
Imam Bayaldi Recipe
20 Modern Ways to Style a Denim Skirt forSpring
Hostess Gifts That Arent Just Another Bottle of Wine