- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Diabetes Natural Cures: Can a High Fiber Diet Cure Diabetes Mellitus?
Although dietary fiber is best known for its role in maintaining healthy bowel and digestive function, it also offers many benefits to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, sometimes called adult onset diabetes.
People who eat diets high in fiber are significantly less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and increasing the amount of fiber in the diet is often one of the first diet and lifestyle changes doctors suggest for patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is because dietary fiber helps the body regulate blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is caused when the body becomes resistant to a hormone called insulin, which regulates levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. When insulin resistance develops, the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels properly, and the levels remain high. If left untreated, high blood glucose levels can lead to many serious health conditions, including blindness, organ failure, and death.
Soluble fiber, more accurately known as "viscous" fiber, increases the body's insulin sensitivity. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and delaying the absorption of glucose after a meal. This helps maintain a slow-but-steady release of glucose to the body, and prevents dangerous spikes and crashes of blood sugar levels.
Other Health Benefits of Fiber
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with excessive weight gain, and high fiber diets also offer many benefits for those trying to lose weight. Dietary fiber is high in bulk, but has no calories, so high fiber foods typically fill you up faster with lower calorie intake than low fiber foods. Because many high fiber foods require more chewing than low fiber foods, they also slow down the speed of eating and give the stomach more time to register that it is full, therefore reducing the overall amount of food eaten as well.
The Dangers of Fiber
If your diet is not accustomed to a high fiber diet, it is important to add fiber to your diet gradually. Increasing consumption of fiber suddenly or dramatically can lead to painful abdominal bloating, gas, and other problems.
Also be wary of many commercially available "high fiber" foods such as commercial bran muffins, which may contain large amounts of added sugars or fats that may be dangerous for a diabetic.
The best sources of dietary fiber for people with type 2 diabetes are foods high in soluble or viscous fiber but with a low glycemic index. These include beans and legumes such as lentils, split peas, and black beans and fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples. Whole grains, especially oats and barley can be enjoyed in moderation as long as they are not combined with too much sugar or white flour. Hearty barley soups and unsweetened oatmeal with apples, walnuts, and cinnamon are examples of healthier alternatives for diabetics.
Fiber supplements are also available.
Can High Fiber Foods Cure Diabetes?
Eating a diet rich in fiber cannot cure diabetes by itself, but when combined with other diet and lifestyle changes, it is one of the most important parts of any natural treatment regime for diabetes.
Diabetes is life-threatening if left untreated or poorly treated. The advice in this article should not be substituted for the advice of a personal physician.