Monday, February 1, 2010

Soluble Fiber Helps Prevent Diabetes Mellitus

Most people nowadays are most probably not aware about the importance of fiber in their diet. In the 1980's sufficient intake of fiber was hailed as one way to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and  prevent diseases like heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus.

Two British doctors, Denis Burkitt and Hugh Trowel, who worked intensively in East Africa found out that Africans seldom showed diseases found in the people in the Western with insufficient fiber in their diet.

What is fiber?

It refers to a range of plant materials from plant cell walls that the human body can't digest.. These are commonly known as roughage and nonstarch polysaccharides NSP. When we eat them, they pass through the body, unchanged, until they reach the large intestine. Here, action takes place, depending on whether the fiber is insoluble or soluble.

What are the types of fiber and how are they acted  upon by the body?


It is like a sponge. It absorbs water. It adds bulk to the fecal matters in the bowel in the large intestine. The insoluble fiber is fermented by bacteria. This process produces fatty acids that nourish the intestinal wall. The added bulk helps to stimulate the muscles of the lower digestive tract. With the added presence of fatty acids, the fecal matter is eased out more quickly.

By speeding waste materials out of the body, toxins are prevented from long contact with the intestinal walls.Insoluble fiber prevent constipation, hemorrhoid, and diverticulitis ( protruding pockets in the intestinal walls that are prone to infection.


As the term suggests, this is a compound that breaks down or is dissolved in the digestive tract and forms fatty acid, as well. The fatty acids are believed to help reduce cholesterol level in the blood. Soluble fiber retards absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This way, it helps prevent diabetes mellitus and low sugar level or hypoglycemia.

What are the common sources of fiber?

  • brown rice
  • whole grain cereals and bread
  • nuts
  • oats
  • oat bran
  • peas
  • beans
  • root vegetables
  • citrus fruits
FOODS HIGH IN FIBER ( both are soluble and insoluble)
  • apples
  • pears
  • bananas
  • barley
  • prunes
  • cabbage family
Diabetes mellitus is a body condition that requires controlled diet. Hence, diabetics are advised to have a meal plan. Aside from restriction in their sugar intake, a common guideline is necessary  to limit  its consumption to less than 5% of their total daily calorie intake.  It  is highly recommended that by planning a diet, it must have an increased fiber in it.

Nutritionists recommend 30 grams each day of fiber to help in digestion, lower cholesterol level, retard absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.

The following are commonly suggested fiber sources , with their size and fiber content.

  • all-bran breakfast cereal- 1 oz - 8.5 g fiber
  • whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked- 1 cup - 4.5 g fiber
  • whole wheat bread- 2 slices - 5.7 g fiber
  • dried apricots - 1/2 cup - 5.0
  • baked potato wityh skin - 1 medium -  5.0
  • apple with skin - 1 medium - 3.0
  • carrots ( boiled ) - 1 cup - 2.9
  • green beans, boiled - 1 cup - 1.1
  • raspberry, raw - 1 cup - 2.8
  • red kidney beans or butter beans - 1/2 - 4.3
  • lima beans, boiled - 1/2 - 6.2
  • lentils, cooked - 1/2 - 4.9


  1. I love, love, love brown rice (although my family still can't get used to it), and you're right---it's much healthier. I also love beans (except mungo beans) and they're really easy to cook. I think one of the challenges of having enough fiber intake is knowing what kind of foods are fiber-rich. I should give my mom a link to your article, since she really needs to know what food(s) are great sources of fiber.

  2. Hi, Bchai,
    I didn't give my meal plan a serious thought then, but with regular check up with my doctors- one a diabetologist, another a nephrologist, and still another, a cardiologist, even a physical therapist, all say I need to have a diet plan in managing my blood sugar and cholesterol. Less sugar and more fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

    Rice is our staple food in my country, but even the brown one is expensive. Regards to your Mom. Hope she will find my posts useful.

  3. This post is of great value to those suffering from diabetes mellitus just like me. I learned so much from this post. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

  4. Oh Mel,
    Take extra care with that condition as I do. I'll continue posting my experiences and ideas about diabetes that others may be encouraged to prevent it if they have not been there yet, and for diabetics to manage well their condition. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Dr. Prahallad Panda,
    I'm not a doctor, Sir, but I am interested in any concern about diabetes. I visited your blog and I found it related to this blog. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by.

  6. Lita, I'm Filipino and white rice is like a MUST HAVE with every meal. When I was home in Florida, all my family (and my in-laws) ate was white rice, but my dad has to manage his intake because of his type II diabetes. I kept nagging them to switch to brown rice, but to no avail. They complained it tasted "funny." They're due to visit us in a few months, so guess what they'll be having for dinner at our house? ;)



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