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 a third-cup of pasta.
"Make some decisions that will guarantee increased fiber in your diet," says Berry, "such as always having a whole-grain item (small muffin, half a whole grain English muffin, 3/4 ounce whole grain cereal) as one carbohydrate choice, in addition to a piece of fruit and a serving of dairy, for breakfast."
Seveda Williams, 41, of Brooklyn, N.Y., diagnosed with type 2 diabetes four years ago, eats oatmeal and adds in fruit for an extra fiber dose. For a snack, she combines lemon juice, oatmeal, and sugar substitute, sprinkles the mixture on sliced apples (with the peel on for fiber), and bakes the apples in the oven as a substitute for apple pie.