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Should I eat fiber before my meals?

The concept of eating fiber first involves consuming fiber-rich foods at the start of your meal before progressing to other components of your meal like carbohydrates. The idea is that fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing a rapid spike in blood glucose levels following meals.


When you eat a meal, the nutrients are absorbed in the order they are consumed. If you start with fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables or legumes, they form a kind of barrier in your stomach and small intestine. When you subsequently consume carbohydrates, they take longer to break down and absorb because of this fiber barrier. As a result, glucose is released and enters your bloodstream more gradually, leading to a slower, more controlled increase in blood sugar. This strategy can be especially beneficial for individuals with diabetes, who need to manage their postprandial (after meal) blood sugar levels closely.

References:

  1. Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Augustin, L. S., et al. (2002). Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(1), 266S-273S.

  2. Silva, F. M., Kramer, C. K., de Almeida, J. C., et al. (2013). Fiber intake and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition Reviews, 71(12), 790-801.


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