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Focus on Fiber

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Researchers discover that insoluble fiber may improve insulin sensitivity.

If you have diabetes, you probably know that the right diet can help keep your blood glucose levels in check and help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, and elevation of blood lipids (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides), all of which increase your risk of developing diabetes complications.

But did you know that the kind of cereal you eat can help improve your sensitivity to insulin? According to a report in the journal Diabetes Care (Volume 29, page 775), improving insulin sensitivity may be as simple as following some old advice: Eat your Wheaties.

The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more efficiently your cells take up glucose from the bloodstream. Past research showed that people who consume high-fiber diets have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, and this reduced risk appears to be due to both soluble and insoluble fiber. To find out how insoluble fiber lowers diabetes risk, a team of German researchers designed a special bread that contained 10 g of insoluble fiber per slice. The researchers asked a group of 17 overweight and obese women without diabetes to eat three slices of the bread daily, which placed their fiber intake well within the recommended 20–35 g per day. After three days of eating the bread, the women’s insulin sensitivity improved by 8%.

You can increase your insoluble fiber intake by eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also ask your doctor about a fiber supplement.

Posted in Diabetes on July 26, 2007
Reviewed September 2011


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I am the chair of the Health Care Committee at a retirement community. I find your health alerts excellent for my committee and village.

Posted by: Dr. Earl A. Pope | April 24, 2008 10:00 AM

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