If you need help reversing type 2 diabetes, you likely know the importance of lifestyle. Eating better and exercising more certainly help, but sometimes you need something else to goose things along.
As far as useful tools, there’s a lot of hype behind dietary fiber. Eating more fiber has a lot of beneficial effects for people with type 2 diabetes. This includes:
- Reducing appetite
- Slowing gastric emptying
- Beneficially altering the microbiome
- Creating a gel that delays absorption of glucose
The problem is, not all dietary fiber is the same. In fact, there are dozens and dozens of different fibers that all have different characteristics.
As a result, they all have different ways to yield different benefits. So when we look at studies showing the benefits of the umbrella term “fiber”, it’s important to know the specific type they used.
One type of fiber most people have never heard seems to have clear benefits in people with type 2 diabetes.
Konjac glucomannan and its effects in reversing type 2 diabetes
The konjac root is a starchy Asian tuber that contains a lot of fiber. In particular, it contains a gel-forming fiber known as glucomannan.
Glucomannan makes up 40% of the weight of konjac root. Many of the beneficial effects of konjac as it’s used in traditional Chinese medicine likely come from glucomannan. In TCM, it’s primarily used for:
- Detoxification(The gel binds toxins in the gut)
- Tumor suppression
- Dissolving phlegm
- Topically for skin disorders
- Decreases blood glucose
- Improves glucose
- Improves lipids
- Improves appetite
- Promotes a healthy microbiome(Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria)
- Relieves constipation
Let’s take a peep at a couple studies
Konjac glucomannan, lipids, blood glucose, and ghrelin
The first study we’ll take a look at shows some of the more robust effects on KGM on metabolism. Participants were older type 2 diabetics not taking lipid lowering therapies.
They consumed 3.6g/day of KGM or placebo for 28 days. The dose were divided up evenly and administered 30 minutes before each of 3 meals. (Note: They ramped up the dose starting with 1.2g/day the first 3 days and 2.4g/day for another 3 days to prevent GI issues)
KGM improved LDL-C, fasting glucose, and postprandial glucose all by over 10%. It’s important to point out that the benefits disappeared and actually reversed when participants were switched to placebo.
For more studies on the beneficial effects of glucomannan on type 2 diabetes and weight loss, check out these reviews:
Coupled with changes in lifestyle, the dietary fiber glucomannan may be a useful tool in reversing type 2 diabetes. It has beneficial effects on fasting and postprandial glucose as well as LDL-C, ApoB, and total cholesterol.
Several different mechanisms contribute to its beneficial effects. It slows gastric emptying, binds lipids and bile, and acts as a barrier to delay glucose absorption from the gut.
Glucomannan is available in several different supplement forms. It comes as a pill or powder, and may be combined with other forms of fiber.
Konjac flour is another option if you’re looking for a way to incorporate it into foods. The flour is often used as a substitute for cornstarch to thicken gravies, puddings, and sauces. It’s also the main ingredient in shiritake noodles, which are widely available.
However, you choose to consume it, KGM can be a useful to in your toolbox for reversing type 2 diabetes.