Diabetes diet: Include more soluble fibre to manage your blood sugar levels

The role of soluble fibre in managing diabetes is significant. Read on to know how it can be beneficial for diabetics.
diet for diabetes
Is soluble fibre good for diabetes? Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Aman Puri Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:40 am IST
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Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterised by the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin, which converts glucose to glycogen to give energy to your body. Diabetes is mainly of two types: Type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas does not produce insulin and Type 2 diabetes, where the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or is unable to utilise insulin well. A person with diabetes has to be careful of what they eat. Case in point – dietary fibre!

tips to manage diabetes
How to manage diabetes with food? Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.

Is soluble fibre good for people with diabetes?

Dietary fibre is also known as roughage or bulk. Fibre is of two types- soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the stomach and slows down digestion. This delays glucose absorption in the blood, which is responsible for the management of blood sugar levels. However, having a low-fibre diet is more likely to spike blood sugar levels. Foods rich in fibre can facilitate the feeling of fullness for a longer time, staving off unusual hunger pangs. Fibre-rich foods have a low glycemic index (GI), which can help control appetite and have a lower impact on blood glucose levels.

Uncontrolled diabetes may also increase the risk of developing other non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular problems, obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, among others. Increased fibre consumption, particularly cereals and whole grains, reduces the risk of cardio-metabolic diseases and colon-rectal cancer.

According to a research study, people with diabetes can benefit from consuming a tablespoon of soluble fibre every day. It helps regulate their blood sugar levels by slowing glucose absorption in the bloodstream as a result of delayed digestion. One can also take supplement fibres such as psyllium husk or guar gum by adding them to regular meals. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for fibre given by NIN, ICMR, for a sedentary adult is 30gm/day or 2000 kcal of fibre daily.

Soluble fibre feeds our good gut bacteria. It is found in plants in the form of pectins, gums, and mucilage. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, oat bran, barley, seed husk, psyllium husk, legumes, dried beans, lentils, peas, and soybeans.

diabetes diet
Is soluble fibre good for diabetes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Insoluble fibre is not good for diabetes

Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre doesn’t attract water. It stays intact as food moves through the gastrointestinal tract. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, which makes it easy to eliminate from the body, preventing chronic constipation and gut-related problems such as haemorrhoids. It consists of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin, which are structural components of plant cell walls. Good sources of insoluble fibre include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skin of fruits and vegetable wholegrain, nuts and seeds, and dried beans.

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About the Author

Aman Puri is a visionary and an entrepreneur with an aim to transform the sports, wellness and health industry.  He aims to transform the world of sports nutrition in India with the objective of introducing high-quality supplements and to follow a unique vision of serving people of all age groups. Aman holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies and Development with Specialisation in Eating Habits, Health and Environment from the Ambedkar University, Delhi.  He also holds Certifications from Nesta – USA as a Sports Nutrition Specialist, Kids Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Sleep Science Coach Certification and Sports Psychology Coach Certification.
Aman has a strong inclination towards sports and is an acclaimed International Mountain Biker and a Cross Country Duathlon Athlete with participation in India, Nepal and Australia. He has participated in over 100 tournaments including Marathon Running, Cycling, Triathlon, Duathlon, Adventure Races. He is the two-time participant of several races like the Time MTB Himalaya- Asia's Toughest Race; Time HHMR- World's Highest Altitude MTB Race; Time Himalayan Rush Participation - Cross Country Duathlon, Nepal. Mr. Puri has been a very honest and dedicated sports person and promotes the idea of sports and fitness being an inclusive part of everyone’s life. He has developed the trust of thousands if sports and fitness enthusiasts across the globe and is the Brand Ambassador for Merida India, ESI Grips - USA and StemCaps – USA.
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