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High Fiber Foods for a Diabetic

by
author image Nancy Clarke
Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.
High Fiber Foods for a Diabetic
Granola trail mix, high in fiber. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Overview

Diabetics benefit doubly from a diet of high-fiber food sources that help to control both weight and blood sugar levels. Many diabetics must count and limit the amount of carbohydrates they eat in order to keep blood sugar levels within a safe range. Of the two types of carb foods, you can eat more of those with significant fiber content than those with greater sugar content, without an undue rise in blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Many high-fiber foods have naturally low sugar, fat and calorie totals as well, which help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for diabetes complications. The FDA recommends a 25 g average daily intake of dietary fiber for adults.

Fruit

Diabetic diets should limit high-sugar fruits, especially dried fruits, that have concentrated sugars. This still leaves high-fiber berries and citrus fruits as acceptable fruit food sources, the ADA relates. Domestic and Asian pears also contain moderate to high fiber.

An Asian pear has 10 g of fiber, while 1 cup of fresh blackberries and raspberries have 7 g and 8 g respectively, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. Oranges and blueberries contribute moderate amounts of fiber. If you buy canned or frozen fruits, make sure they're packed without added sugar.

Orange Vegetables

Sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables, such as pumpkin, squash and carrots, deliver high fiber in relatively low calories. The ADA points out that a baked sweet potato, with 5 g of dietary fiber, causes less impact on blood sugar levels than regular potatoes and the other orange veggies.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are another value-added food source for diabetic diets, with very low calories and sugar, and extremely dense beneficial nutrients, including fiber. The USDA lists an abundance of choices with fiber contents of 5 g and up. In 1 cup, cooked collards, turnip greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and artichokes each deliver high fiber content.

Whole Grains

Whole-wheat breads, pastas, brown rice and barley are food sources rich in fiber. Some ready-to-eat cereals have too many simple carbohydrates, or sugar, and low fiber content from processed grains. But other whole-grain varieties limit sugar and maximize complex carbohydrates and fiber, making them appropriate for diabetic diets. Package labels list the content of each of these nutrients in a suggested serving portion. Those with 5 g of fiber or more per serving provide at least 20 percent of daily fiber requirements.

Legumes

Cooked dry beans, soybeans, peas and lentils represent legumes with dense nutrient content. One-cup or 1/2-cup portions will limit calories in these high-fiber food sources and also provide significant potassium, a mineral that helps to regulate blood sugar.

The USDA reports that navy beans, split peas and lentils all have 16 g or more of fiber in 1 cup. Additional choices include pinto, black, kidney, lima and garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas and soybeans, all with 10 g of fiber and up per cup.

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