Fiber Fact Sheet: 5 Reasons to Fill Up on Fiber

It's time to face the facts: people aren't getting enough fiber. The most recent data shows that the average adult in the United States consumes approximately 15 grams daily, well below the recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber recommendations based on age includes:1

  • Men under 50 years old – 38 grams
  • Men over 50 – 30 grams
  • Women over 50 – 25 grams
  • Women over 50 – 21 grams

Fiber is a mighty plant compound that may be the missing link to reaching your health potential. So, read about why fueling up with fiber can help improve your diabetes management and overall health.

Decreased disease risks

Did you know that fitting fiber into your daily meals may help lower your disease risk? In the United States, 10 percent of adults ages 20 or older had total cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dL. And nearly half of adults – 48.1 percent – have high blood pressure (hypertension). Both high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are common comorbidities among people with diabetes.2,3

However, a high-fiber diet may help lower your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. Following a high-fiber diet may decrease all-cause mortality by roughly 20 percent compared to people not consuming enough fiber.1,3

This means adopting a high-fiber lifestyle is essential for maintaining overall health, especially for people with type 2 diabetes.

Improved diabetes management

Fiber is crucial to better diabetes control since it promotes blood glucose stability. Specifically, soluble fiber helps slow digestion and gastric emptying, ultimately delaying glucose absorption into the blood. In other words, fiber helps reduce large blood sugar fluctuations that may worsen insulin resistance.

In addition, one study found that overweight people with varying degrees of metabolic dysfunction improved insulin sensitivity by 25 percent when following a high-fiber diet. Research also revealed that people who swapped carbohydrates for more fibrous alternatives significantly improved their A1C within 5 months.4

So, regular consumption of fiber-rich ingredients may help improve different factors linked to better diabetes management.

Improved bowel regularity

Do you struggle to get going in the bathroom? It's a common issue caused by either hydration, meal habits, exercise, nerve damage, or medication use. While you may enjoy the additional scrolling or reading time, going "number two" should be an in-and-out process. Consider adding fiber to your diet to help cut down on the strain:1

  • Soluble fiber– This type of fiber gives your system smooth moves! It draws water into the gut, allowing stools to pass more easily. Food high in soluble fiber includes beans, peas, oat bran, barley, and more.
  • Insoluble fiber– This type of fiber adds bulk to your stool, which helps to give your gut a much-needed push. Food high in insoluble fiber includes wheat bran, nuts, cruciferous vegetables, and more.

Using a step stool when going to the bathroom can also be helpful. By elevating your feet, you decrease bowel pressure, thus making smooth moves much easier!

Minimize chronic inflammation

People with diabetes are at greater risk of other health issues such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and high cholesterol – each of which is linked to increased inflammatory markers. When released, pro-inflammatory cytokines may worsen insulin resistance, ultimately contributing to poor diabetes control.5,6

A fiber-rich diet tends to be abundantly rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are plant-based compounds that help neutralize free radicals to help decrease inflammation. Plus, a high-fiber lifestyle also helps improve gut bacterial diversification, which helps improve immunity, ward off inflammation, and improve overall health, all while adding color to your diet.7

Weight reduction or maintenance

Adopting a high-fiber lifestyle may also help shed unwanted pounds that negatively impact diabetes control. Since foods rich in fiber help slow digestion, they may help increase feelings of fullness and improve mealtime satiety. Combining these factors may lead to a decreased daily caloric intake, contributing to weight loss.

Consuming high-fiber foods also helps with diet adherence, a common struggle among people following a calorie-restrictive diet.8

Following a high-fiber diet may help support your weight loss journey by improving mealtime satiety and minimizing unwanted snacking, ultimately contributing to an overall caloric deficit.8

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