Diabetic Diet: The Health Benefits of Fiber

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Blood Sugar, Diabetes
Last Reviewed 03/25/2014

Diabetic Diet: The Health Benefits of Fiber

A high-fiber diet is a powerful tool for controlling type 2 diabetes. The health benefits of fiber include slowing absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, which means glucose—and insulin—levels rise gradually. It also improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, combating insulin resistance.

Soluble Fiber Health Benefits

The best type of fiber for improving blood sugar control is soluble fiber—so called because it “dissolves” or forms a gel-like substance in water. Foods rich in soluble fiber include:

  • Legumes
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits

WATCH: Dr. Whitaker Explains How Legumes Can Help You Lower Your Blood Sugar

Supplemental Fiber Health Benefits

Another great form of supplemental fiber is glucomannan, a water-soluble fiber derived from Konjac root, a potato-like tuber native to Asia.

Glucomannan helps reduce appetite and produce feelings of satiety. It also promotes a more gradual absorption of carbohydrates, which helps to slow the release of sugars from the gut. This helps keep blood sugar levels balanced.

The suggested dose for the optimal health benefits of fiber is 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) mixed in an eight-ounce glass of water, two or three times daily, 30 minutes to one hour before meals (drink it quickly, before it thickens). Avoid glucomannan capsules, because they may stick and expand in the esophagus. Glucomannan is safe, well tolerated, and can be taken indefinitely.

Note: Taking fiber supplements may interfere with the absorption of some minerals. If you take glucomannan or any fiber supplement before a meal, wait three or four hours before taking your vitamin and mineral supplements.

More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Diabetes

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