When some people hear the word fiber, they instantly shudder at images of black beans, raisin bran, and soluble fiber supplements. We know that it improves our “regularity”, but to many, that is the extent of their knowledge on fiber. Fiber is found in many different foods (such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes) and is important for your long-term health. But how?
When sugar is introduced into the blood stream quickly, the body tends to feel a “high”, followed by a crash. Fiber is important in delaying the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. If you consume carbohydrates (breads, candies, starch products) without any fiber, you can expect a huge increase in blood sugar. Why is that bad?
Long-term intake of foods that are rated highly on the glycemic index (aka foods that break down almost instantly to sugar) can cause too much stress on your pancreas. The accumulation of this phenomenon occurring is what is known as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). Diabetics take insulin, which regulates this exact function. The point of balancing your meals with fiber is to slow down the absorption of glucose in your blood so you don’t overwork your pancreas.
90% of North Americans do not meet the recommended daily value (RDA) set for fiber. T2DM is on the rise in children as low as 7 years old. Although we know there are multiple factors in play here, we know that fiber offsets the release of glucose into the blood. Start introducing more fiber into your diet. A sudden increase in fiber may cause stomach discomfort, but stick it out and your body will quickly adapt. To give you some insight, I’ve included a list of foods in relation to their glycemic index count:
High fiber/ low glycemic value
-Arugula, broccoli/cauliflower, cabbage, celery, ginger root, green beans, peppers, lettuce, onions, spinach, zucchini/squash varieties, tomatoes, blueberries/blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, Granny Smith apples
Moderate fiber/moderate-glycemic value (Reduce consumption after lunch)
-Beans, artichokes, steel-cut oats, whole-grain breads/cereals, brown rice, most fruits.
Low fiber/high glycemic value (these foods break down into glucose (sugar) almost immediately after consumption, causing a spike in blood sugar):
-Banana, pineapple, mango, honey, papaya, grapes, fruit juice