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Fiber! It's Grrrrrrrrreat!

Why is fiber so important? Well, digestion, lowering your chance of chronic disease, reduces bloating, increases heart health, and on and on! I could go on forever about the benefits of fiber, but I won't. Let just take a peek at why you should be eating more fiber!


What is Fiber?

Well, there are a couple of types of fiber: soluble & insoluble. Actually, these are the broad terms for the many types of fiber out there. However, these are what we'll be looking at today.

Soluble: This fiber dissolves in water and can be metabolized by the bacteria in your digestive system.

Insoluble: Does not dissolve in water. Some insoluble fiber can be broken down by the bacteria in your digestive system.

All whole plants have both soluble and insoluble fiber in them, so make sure to eat your veggies! The daily recommended intake of fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.


Fiber Feeds the Good Guys

Cool bacteria fact! The bacteria that live in our guts actually outnumber our cells 10 to 1! That's a lot of bugs. We're host to around 500 different types of bacteria, numbering about 100 trillion cells. All of these bacteria are responsible for various aspects of your daily health, such as weight, blood sugar control, immune function, brain function, and digestion.

So, where does fiber fit in? Just like us, bacteria need energy to survive and function. However, most of the food we take in has already been absorbed by the body before it reaches our bacterial friends. That's why fiber is important!

We simply don't have the enzymes required to break down fiber, so it makes its way to our gut buddies. The good bacteria feed on the fiber (prebiotics) and multiply for our health! The bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. This, in turn, feeds cells in the colon, reducing inflammation, and can help with disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Chron's disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Now, there is also a potentially noisy side effect of a high fiber diet. Our good bacteria actually ferment the fiber that causes gas build-up. This can lead to flatulence and discomfort. However, your body will adjust to the diet if you keep it up!


A Carb that Helps with Blood Sugar Spikes?

That's right! Fiber can actually help control blood sugar spikes after a particularly high-carb meal. High-fiber foods are naturally lower on the glycemic index than refined carbs (sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, etc.) that have been stripped of most of their redeeming qualities.

So, what are you looking for? Namely, you're going to want to look for viscous, soluble fiber in your higher-carb meals. Some foods that fall in this group would be:

  • Beans

  • Oats

  • Oat Bran

  • Rice Bran

  • Barley

  • Citrus Fruit

  • Apples

  • Strawberries

  • Peas

  • Potatoes

While these foods have been shown to lower the likelihood of carbs raising your blood sugar to harmful levels, you should definitely consider reducing your overall carb intake if you do suffer from blood sugar issues. As always, your doctor is the best person to turn to if you're having trouble!


On-Time. Every Time.

Poop, that is. We've already covered this though. Check it out.


So, you see, fiber has all the beginnings of improved health, satiety, slightly lower cholesterol, decrease spikes in blood sugar, and have your gut running like a well-oiled machine!

What are you waiting for? Go grab some fiber!

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