Fibre can help control Type 2 Diabetes and more...

Posted by Kayla Phillips on

TYPE 2 diabetes is a condition which affects more people around the world than ever before. Diabetics are often told what they can't eat, but according to studies, including more of this food type into your diet could help lower your blood sugar.

Type 2 diabetes affects insulin in the body. Everybody needs insulin to live as it plays an essential job in keeping the body healthy. Insulin allows the glucose in the blood to enter the cells and fuel the body. When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body still breaks down carbohydrate from food and drink and turns it into glucose. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin, however, insulin can’t work properly, and blood sugar levels keep rising. There is a food type to include in your diet which is known to reverse this and therefore help lower blood sugar levels.

Fibre is found in plant-based foods and is a carbohydrate which can’t be digested. It therefore slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. Foods containing soluble fibre become sticky when passing through the digestive tract and this helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol.

Soluble fibre found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad”, cholesterol levels.

In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, carbohydrates, dietary fibre and incident type 2 diabetes in older women was investigated. The study noted: “Dietary carbohydrates may influence the development of type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes, for example, through effects on blood glucose and insulin concentrations.

We examined the relations of baseline intake of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, dietary magnesium, and carbohydrate-rich foods and the glycaemic index with incidence of diabetes. Total grain, whole-grain, total dietary fibre, cereal fibre, and dietary magnesium intakes showed strong inverse associations with incidence of diabetes after adjustment for potential non dietary confounding variables."

The study concluded that the data supported a protective role for grains (particularly whole grains), cereal fibre, and dietary magnesium in the development of diabetes in older women

It continued: “Studies also have shown that high fibre foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation." 

Helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, fibre – particularly soluble fibre – can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels."

“A healthy diet that includes insoluble fibre may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

“Research studies have found that even modest increases in soluble fibre intake helps to lower blood glucose levels."

“The fact that soluble fibre could help improve blood glucose in two ways. The slowing down of passage through the digestive gives digestive hormones more time to act and by forming a gel with water, soluble fibre prevents carbohydrate from being so quickly absorbed by the small intestine.”

Benefits of eating a diet rich in soluble fibre include weight management as a feeling of fullness lasts longer and reduces hunger pangs. Fibre is known to help with the two other dangerous conditions and can help lower a person’s cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Having a diet with required amounts of fibre per day will also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications. 

The recommended amount of fibre per day is 20 to 35 grams.

Foods rich in soluble fibre include

  • Dried beans
  • Oat bran
  • Rice bran
  • Barley
  • Peas
  • Sweet potatoes

Foods high in insoluble fibre include wheat bran, cereals, whole grains and some vegetables.

Additionally, dietary fiber is best known for regulating the digestive system, but it is also a fantastic tool for promoting weight management. Fiber can increase satiety, reduce hunger, decrease overall caloric intake, and promote weight loss.

Fiber expands with liquid, which can help to improve feelings of fullness. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 19 to 38 grams of dietary fiber per day, depending on gender and age; however, the majority of people fall very short of meeting these guidelines.

If you're looking to boost your fiber intake, a fiber supplement may help you to meet your daily fiber goals. Fiber supplements come in many forms, including powders, capsules, and tablets. 

I find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Is there any harm in taking a fiber supplement every day?

Answer From Michael F. Picco, M.D. The Mayo Clinic

There's no evidence that daily use of fiber supplements — such as Benefiber, Metamucil or methylcellulose (Citrucel) — is harmful.

Fiber has a number of health benefits, including normalizing bowel function and preventing constipation. It's best to get fiber from food, because supplements don't provide the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that fiber-rich foods do. But fiber supplements can contribute to the recommended daily intake.

Fiber supplements can cause abdominal bloating and gas, at least initially. If you have intestinal problems, such as a history of a bowel blockage or Crohn's disease, talk to your doctor before adding a fiber supplement to your diet. It's also a good idea to ask your doctor or pharmacist whether fiber supplements interact with any medications you take.

Fiber supplements can decrease the absorption of certain medications, such as aspirin, carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, others) and others. Fiber supplements can also reduce blood sugar levels, which may require an adjustment in your medications or insulin if you have diabetes.

If you plan to take fiber supplements, start with small amounts to minimize problems with gas. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids every day.

About Author 

BETTER HEALTH & BEYOND Editorial Team 

At Phillips Pharmacy Online our vision is to be an integral part in transforming the way that healthcare is delivered in Barbados & beyond. We are a group of passionate people working hard to make a big positive impact on the lives of people. We work with Doctors, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Suppliers and most importantly, with You, to improve the health of all. 

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Disclaimer of Medical Advice: 

You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. 


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