Impact on Diabetes
As reported by: The Harvard School of Public Health
Fiber and Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is characterized by sustained high blood sugar levels. It tends to develop when the body can no longer produce enough of the hormone insulin to lower blood sugar to normal levels or cannot properly use the insulin that it does produce. There are several important factors that may help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and not smoking. Researchers are also trying to pinpoint any relevant dietary factors, one of which seems to be a high-fiber diet. The studies of male health professionals and female nurses both found that a diet high in cereal fiber was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. When it comes to factors that increase the risk of having diabetes, a diet that’s low in cereal fiber and at the same time high in high glycemic index foods (which cause big spikes in blood sugar) seems particularly bad. Both Harvard studies–of nurses and of male health professionals–found that this sort of diet more than doubled the risk of type 2 diabetes when compared to a diet high in cereal fiber and low in high glycemic index foods. Foods that have a high glycemic index include potatoes, refined foods such as white bread, white rice, refined cereals (corn flakes, Cheerios), white spaghetti, and sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index do not raise blood sugar levels as quickly and, therefore, are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Low glycemic index foods include legumes, whole fruits, oats, bran, and whole-grain cereals.
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