While frightening diseases like cancer and ebola tend to get more ink, it's Type 2 diabetes that actually touches the lives of most Americans. Though it's largely preventable, our nation's eating habits are fueling a full-blown crises.
Latest estimates from the CDC reveal that more than 29 million Americans suffer with the disease—that amounts to a whopping 9.3 percent of the population. If not carefully controlled, diabetes can lead to much more serious complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney and eye damage, high blood pressure, and even death.
But don’t panic just yet! While most of us know that reducing our intake of unhealthy, high-sugar foods can help reduce our chances of developing type 2 diabetes, scientists have uncovered proof that another simple dietary change could ward off the illness: more fiber.
A new Imperial College London study published in the journal Diabetologia revealed that individuals whose diets included high amounts of fiber were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less of the nutrient. The data was collected from over 29,000 European participants over a period of 11 years, giving researchers a pretty good idea on the importance of fiber in our food.
In fact, those who ate more than 26 grams of fiber daily were found to be 18 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t—and that’s without even considering other lifestyle factors. The one caveat? Those who were obese didn’t experience the same benefits from fiber, illustrating once again the importance of overall health.
While fiber is by no means a miracle cure—because, let’s be honest, there’s no such thing—it does help, and it’s easy enough to include in your meal plans. Since so many foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains contain dietary fiber, upping your intake is easy. (Here's a great piece of trivia: Green peas have twice as much fiber as broccoli does!)
Of course, in our busy day-to-day lives, sometimes it's hard to If you’re looking for a fiber boost in your diet and you're short on time, there are effective supplements that can help you reach your nutritional goals.
Photo credit: megabeth via Flickr