Here’s the first surprising fact about fiber: It’s a carbohydrate. But not just any carbohydrate. Because it’s indigestible, fiber doesn’t affect your body the way other carbs do.
Here’s the second surprising fact: There are two major types of fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves readily in water and turns into a gel upon digestion. It takes a long time to digest and slows the release of other nutrients into the blood.
It’s counterpart, insoluble fiber, doesn’t dissolve in water. It enhances your body’s ability to bulk up stool and keeps food moving through your digestive system.
I- Insulin control
B- Beneficial bacteria
Fiber’s effect on satiety is usually attributed to two main factors: adding bulk to the diet and slowing down digestion. When you eat high-fiber foods, this increased bulk takes up more space in your stomach. This is directly related to fullness because your stomach is a “volume counter” rather than a “calorie counter.” The more space you take up with food or fluids, the fuller you feel.
Another perk of slow digestion is enhanced insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. A high-fiber meal slows the entry of nutrients, such as glucose, into the blood. A slower release of glucose into the blood allows insulin to distribute it effectively. What’s more, the pancreas doesn’t need to secrete as much insulin.
Regardless of your goals, enhanced insulin sensitivity is invaluable. The ability to efficiently clear glucose from the blood and to effectively distribute it bodes well for body composition, regardless of your physique goal.
The beneficial bacteria in your gut feed on fiber. Increasing the amount of good gut bacteria has been shown to enhance immune function and reduce inflammation.
A stronger immune system helps you get to the gym, rather than being stuck on the couch, sick, wrapped up in a blanket. You can’t make progress if you’re unable to get to the gym!
Multiple studies demonstrate a positive association between the amount of fiber you eat in your diet and life expectancy. A recent study looked at the dietary fiber intake of nearly half a million European adults and found that those eating more than 28 grams of fiber per day had a 24 percent less risk of death than those taking in less than 16 grams per day.
Eating enough fiber every day may help add a few extra years to your life.
A diet plentiful in insoluble fiber is effective at increasing fecal bulk and promoting a regularly scheduled trip to the bathroom. There’s even some new research demonstrating that people who eat a diet higher in fiber may expend more calories through their poop than those consuming a low-fiber diet. The results may be miniscule, and more research is needed at this point, but, hey, it’s another incentive to stay regular.
How Much Fiber Should I Consume?
The recommended intake for women is a minimum of 25 grams per day, whereas for men it is a minimum of 38 grams per day. More is not necessarily better. Excessive amounts of fiber can lead to GI distress, impaired nutrient absorption, and unintended weight loss. If you’re continuously full, it’s hard to eat enough!
How To Increase Daily Fiber Intake
If you’re not eating enough fiber at the moment, have no fear, as there are many delicious high-fiber foods to choose from. Start with one meal, and swap in a high-fiber source—say, brown rice for white rice. Then, start increasing your vegetable intake, one meal at a time, until you’re at 4-5 servings per day. Slow and steady is the key.
Excellent Sources Of Fiber
- Soluble Fiber: Oats, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables
- Insoluble Fiber: Whole-grains such as wheat and popcorn, fruits and vegetables (with peels)
When you increase your fiber intake, you should increase your fluid intake, too. Without adequate fluids, fiber can actually increase constipation and impede digestion.