Understanding Food

Fibres in Diet 

Fibre- fibres are a type of carbohydrates which are not broken down completely by the digestive tract and are not absorbed into circulation, essentially fibres travel passively through the digestive tract, but during their passage cause important changes in the functioning of digestive system. Fibres can be soluble and insoluble; 

Soluble fibres

Soluble fibres can dissolve in water- they also adhere to Glucose in the intestines and decrease its absorption in blood thus lowering Blood Glucose ( thus decreasing Glycemic Index of such foods), they also decrease harmful cholesterol ( LDL) and Triglycerides levels in blood,fermentation of soluble fibres by bacterias residing in large intestines produces Short chain fatty acids , which are helpful in decreasing blood cholesterol and blood Glucose, Soluble fibres provide many other benefits - they increase absorption of minerals and vitamins, modulate local immune system and are helpful in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's disease.
Soluble fibres are present in Oats, Fruits and vegetables like apples, prunes, bananas, apricots, plums, pears etc. Vegetables- legumes peas, beans, soya beans, french beans, broad beans, onions, sweet potatoes
Grains- rolled oats, psyllium husk, rye, chia, barley

Insoluble fibres

Insoluble fibres- Insoluble fibres do not dissolve in water and at the same time are not digested and absorbed by our body, they simply pass through the gut. But in the intestines they absorb water and swell up to many times their dry volume- they irritate the walls of intestines which results in forward propogation of food and decreased absorption of glucose and fats. Other benefits are they're helpful in constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. Examples are All fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fibres generally in their skin or seeds, nuts, whole grains.

Food & Diabetes - Important aspects of Food in Diabetes

Glycemic index is the relative rise in blood glucose after ingestion of the concerned food product as compared to that by the same amount of sugar or white bread, even though total amount of carbohydrates and calories may remain same in the studied food item and glucose. The glycemic index of sugar is taken as 1, rest of the foods are compared against it. The higher the glycemic index the higher blood glucose levels would be achieved immediately after eating that particular food item, while in foods with lower glycemic index blood glucose may rise slowly after and over a longer period of time in the studied food item and glucose. Foods with lower glycemic index Foods with lower glycemic index are preferable for diabetics.

Most of the complications of Diabetes like atherosclerosis , high blood pressure and coronary artery disease have been associated with post prandial peaks in blood glucose ( that is the steep rise in blood sugar after taking meals), hence it is important to lower blod sugar consistently.

Food & Diabetes - Important aspects of Food in Diabetes

Daily Cheese and Yoghurt intake may Decrease the risk of Diabetes

Dialy intake of thick fermented dairy products in moderate quantity may decrease the risk of developing Diabetes type 2 in some populations..

Good news for cheese lovers,  as study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has concluded that daily intake of 55 gms of cheese actually decreases the chances of developing Diabetes Type 2 by 12 %, similar decrease was seen in people consuming 55 gms of yoghurt daily or thick fermented Dairy products like Butter Milk But it was NOT related to the total Dairy foods intake! The study was a large one involving 16,800 healthy adults and 12,400 patients with type 2 diabetes from eight European countries, including the UK & France.

But the results were not similar for everyone- the French showed decreased Diabetes risk wheras the risk of getting Diabetes  increased in the UK Study population for a similar intake of Cheese, Yoghurt or thick Fermented dairy products like Butter Milk.

Another interesting point to be underlined here is that this study shows only the association and not the causation! The reason behind these findings may be the presence of the Bacteria and some byproducts of the fermentation process in these foods together with high quantities of Magnesium and Calcium, but as the researchers have themselves indicated this requires further investigation…..