Eating soluble fiber is such a crucial habit for managing blood sugar. Getting enough of this food is the key to lowering your blood sugar levels.
Your blood needs sugar in it at all times. It’s your body’s foundational source of energy, and without it, your body wouldn’t be able to complete its usual tasks or functions. But while it’s crucial for your blood to have glucose, there’s also a fine line between your glucose levels being too low and too high.
When your blood sugar starts to rise, your body produces insulin in order to help your body’s cells absorb the blood sugar. This helps your body use it as energy. But if your blood sugar is too high over time, this can lead to hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia—or high blood sugar—is often associated with type 2 diabetes and can lead to organ damage if it’s left untreated. While some cases of high blood sugar are caused by genetics or other existing illnesses, a person’s diet and lifestyle often play a significant role in their blood glucose levels.
For example, a diet higher in processed carbohydrates and refined sugars can lead to higher blood glucose because of the way your body processes these foods. So when it comes to choosing a healthier diet, Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, says that the most crucial eating habit to have in order to lower your blood sugar is eating enough soluble fiber.
One reason why eating soluble fiber is such a crucial habit for managing blood sugar is that this nutrient supports the growth of gut bacteria that play a role in blood sugar regulation. “Soluble fiber improves insulin sensitivity by feeding the gut’s beneficial bacteria. When these bacteria are present in high numbers, they are better able to digest the food we eat and mitigate the body’s insulin response,” says Best.
Specifically, gut microbes produce metabolites that are called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). According to study published in Science, these SCFAs are an important energy source for your body, and deficiencies in these fatty acids have been associated with type 2 diabetes.
The study suggests that a diet high in fiber can help facilitate the growth of more SCFAs, as well as help with blood sugar regulation for those with diabetes.
Along with helping to maintain healthy gut bacteria, fiber can help in reducing blood sugar spikes. “Soluble fiber also slows sugar absorption, which prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar. This slower rate of absorption allows the cells to adjust to insulin’s effects more slowly without a rapid influx.”
1. What is soluble fiber?
Two types of fiber that nutritionists recommend focusing on eating more are soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut, help strengthen the immune system, fight inflammation, and even improve mood. Insoluble fiber will not be broken down by gut bacteria and will not be absorbed into the bloodstream.
How is soluble fiber different from insoluble fiber?
Insoluble fiber: This is the type of fiber that people often think of as “raw food”. Fiber is the hard substance found in nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables (especially in seeds, skins and stems). As the name implies, this type of fiber will not dissolve in water.
Insoluble fiber will not be broken down by intestinal bacteria and will not be absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead, insoluble fiber will contribute to increasing the volume of excess products in the digestive system, helping you to have regular bowel movements and prevent constipation (as well as the diseases that come with apples). constipation, such as hemorrhoids).
Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber is sticky and soft, can absorb water and become a gel-like substance on the inside of the digestive tract. Food sources of soluble fiber include legumes, oats, barley, fruit, and avocados.
Soluble fiber also helps soften stools, so that stools can move through the digestive tract more easily. Soluble fiber also binds other substances such as sugar and cholesterol, helping to prevent or slow the absorption of these substances into the bloodstream. This is why soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar and protect you from heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. In addition, soluble fiber can increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, help strengthen the immune system, fight inflammation, and even improve emotions.
In addition, soluble fiber also helps you lose weight. For those who are new to weight loss, soluble fiber helps you feel full for longer, which in turn helps you reduce cravings and better control your weight. According to one study, eating an extra 10g of soluble fiber per day reduced belly fat by about 4% over a 5-year period.
2. The best sources of soluble fiber
Soluble and insoluble fiber, both are crucial in having a healthy, balanced diet. While many foods contain both types, they often contain them in different amounts.
“Legumes like black beans, kidney beans, and lima beans are rich sources of soluble fiber, and sweet potatoes also provide a great source of soluble fiber and are an excellent carbohydrate source for those with diabetes,” says Best. “Other foods high in soluble fiber include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, avocados, carrots, and apricots.”
3. Health benefits of soluble fiber
Digestive benefits: Soluble fiber, particularly the viscous type that forms a gel, helps to slow and regulate the passage of food through the digestive system. This is thought to be one reason for the blunting of the glycemic response to carbohydrates when soluble fiber is present. It also ensures that nutrients have the opportunity to be fully absorbed in the intestines.
Benefits to blood sugar: In addition to the above, there is evidence that soluble fiber (as well as resistant starch) stimulates a glucose-regulating hormone called GLP-1. It’s possible that this effect is actually achieved by fermentation of soluble fiber in the colon, which brings us to:
Benefits to colon health: By now you have heard that there is a whole world of activity going on in your colon thanks to the friendly bacteria that live there, especially if we keep them happy with a high-fiber diet. In particular, most types of soluble fiber are good food for these bacteria, which produce vitamins, valuable short-chain fatty acids which are difficult to get in the diet, and other helpful substances which are good for our colons and the rest of our bodies as well. We are just scratching the surface in learning about the benefits of a healthy microbiome.
Heart protection: Inside your digestive system, soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body, helping to reduce overall cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal may offer the most heart protection.
Weight loss: Soluble fiber can also help you get to — or stay at — a healthy weight by keeping you feeling full without adding many calories to your diet.