Fiber Does a Diabetic Good
Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods. There are two known types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is physiologically active, and insoluble is metabolically fermented in the digestive system and is a form of bulking fiber. Bulking fibers take in water as they move through the digestive tract and promote regularity within the overall digestion process. Dietary fibers usually contain contents that react with the various nutrients that the body opts to absorb from the food one eats.
Soluble fiber is usually recommended to diabetics because, when eaten, the diabetic feels full and they do not put on any more weight. As weight is a common issue among diabetics, especially those with Type 2 diabetes, soluble fibers are often incorporated into dietary regimens as they slow digestion and the rate at which glucose is taken in by the body. Due to this slowing, the levels within the diabetic can be maintained adequately as soluble fibers prevent blood sugar elevation. Soluble fibers tend to be identified as pectins or gums in many foods, and are found in oatmeal, flax seed, legumes and fruits such as apples.
Insoluble fiber does not have the capacity to dissolve in water as soluble fiber does. During the digestive process, food passes through the stomach and intestines and insoluble fiber allows for regulation of PH levels in the body, thereby preventing anything toxic from accumulating in the intestines and other areas associated with the digestive system. Insoluble fiber is usually found in vegetables such as green leaf lettuce and other darker green items, as well as wheat and nuts. Research has not shown whether soluble is better than insoluble or vice versa. The USDA suggests that diabetics consume about 17 grams of fiber daily in order to maintain the needed glucose levels.
One fiber that has become popular within the last few years is coconut fiber. Coconuts are type of fruit. The flesh of the fruit is an essential area where fiber is found, and as the American Diabetes Association has recommended, those with diabetes should eat 25 to 50 grams of fiber per day, so the use of coconut fiber has been on the rise. A study conducted by the Philippine Coconut Authority in 2003 concluded that dessert products that used coconut flour could be consumed regularly by diabetics in moderation.
So how does a diabetic increase the amount of fiber in their diet? Apart from the research done on fiber and its positive effects on overall physical health, individuals with diabetes can incorporate items into their daily eating habits to gradually get their bodies used to processing more fiber. A high intake of fruits and vegetables leads to many healthy benefits in addition to keeping glucose levels at a stable rate. Researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Postdam-Rehbruecke, examined the effects of increased fiber intake and the link it has to alleviating the effects of diabetes, and found that those who ate sufficient fiber had a 33% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.