In every health class I’ve taken growing up, in all the diet advice I’ve gotten over the year, the one constant in the world of low fat and low carb fads is you should eat lots of fiber.
What is Fiber?
We’ve all heard of fiber. We’ve all heard it’s really good for us. However, do you really know what fiber is?
Fiber is a type of carb (carbohydrate) that can’t be digested. Foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans all have it.
Dietary fiber consists of all sorts of plant things that the stuff in our stomachs responsible for digestion can’t break down. There’s a lot of science to it, but at the end of the day what you need to know is fiber (and depending if its soluble by water or not) has benefits such as promoting regularity.
What are the Health Benefits of Fiber
As stated above, depending on the type of fiber you’re eating, it can help keep your bowel movements regular. Fiber also helps:
- lower cholesterol
- helps with IBS
- helps with haemorrhoids
- can help in weight loss
- helps prevent heart disease
- can help prevent certain cancers
Most importantly for those of us with diabetes, type 1, 2 or other, it helps control blood glucose by slowing down glucose that absorbs in the small intestine. So eating ice cream will spike your blood sugar about 20-30 minutes after eating it but eating an apple with skin will spike it slower (in a lot of diabetics) because a medium apple has a whopping 4.3g of fiber!
What Foods are High in Fiber?
The list below lists the fiber in general. When dealing with food and its macros, it’s always best to weigh your food and take the macros off a database that has the correct values.
- Medium apple, skin eaten (5g)
- Medium banana (3g)
- Medium pear (5g)
- Orange, 1 medium (3g)
- Strawberries, 1 cup (3g)
- Avocado, 1 cup (10g)
- Raspberries, 1 cup (8g)
- Carrots, 1 cup (3.6g)
- Beets, 1 cup (3.8g)
- Broccoli, 1 cup (5g)
- Brussels Sprouts, 1 cup (4g)
- Spinach, 1 cup (1g)
- Cauliflower, 1 cup cooked (2g)
- Lentils, 1 cup cooked (15.6g)
- Kidney beans, 1 cup cooked (11.3g)
- Sweet corn, 1 cup cooked (3.5g)
- Split peas, 1 cup cooked (11.3g)
- Chickpeas, 1 cup cooked (12.5g)
- Quinoa, 1 cup cooked (5.2g)
- Rolled oats, 1 serving cooked (4g)
- Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup cooked (6g)
- Brown rice, 1 cup cooked (3.5g)
- Almonds, 1 ounce (3.4g)
- Sweet potato, 1 medium w/o skin (3.8g)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are so many more high fiber fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains out there. It’s up to you to do your research!
Wait a Sec! I Was Told Not to Eat…
A lot of diabetics are told to stay away from certain foods such as corn, or oats.
Remember, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a scientist. What I am is a diabetic that isn’t afraid to experiment with food, exercise, or insulin administration so take anything I say from here with a grain of salt and do your own research and experimentation.
With that being said, I think we can all agree that anything with added sugar probably isn’t the best for anyone, diabetic or not. But as far as fresh, whole foods like corn on the cob or some brown rice… how my body reacts to it is NOT going to be how your body reacts to it.
At the end of the day, every diabetic needs to grab his or her meter, or stick a CGM on their body, and test foods. My father can eat oatmeal without issue, it spikes me high and fast. Even with insulin and it’s not worth it (unless I’m going to exercise immediately afterwards, then its worth it).
However, I can eat a little bit of brown rice and he can’t. So as far as “off limit” foods? It’s individual and there’s no “one size fits all” guide to what’s good or bad.
Test before, eat, test at 30 minutes, test again at 60 min, test again at 2 hours and test again at 3 hours. THEN you’ll see if the food you ate is worth it or not.