10/13/2015

Fiber and why you need it in your diet



There are two types of fiber. Soluble and Insoluble fiber. Soluble dissolves in water, insoluble does not. Insoluble provides that full feeling and increases your stool. 

If you are a low-carber, fiber is subtracted from your daily carb limit. This is because fiber cannot be absorbed by the body and passes through your digestive tract. Fat has 9 calories per gram, Protein and Carbs both have 4 calories per gram. Fiber has 0 calories. Also, for some on a low-carb diet, fiber will help if you are struggling with passing stool. 

Why do you want fiber in your diet?

Insoluble fiber, as it provides more bulk to your stool, can help with bowel issues, such as alleviating constipation. Soluble fiber can help stabilize blood glucose levels, suppress cholesterol syntheses, reduce LDL by binding to certain acids that contain cholesterol (so they end up in your stool rather than in your body), reduce formation of polyps, and other processes that promote health: 
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of some cancers, such as colon cancer
  • Increase Satiety (full-feeling)
Also, according to a Food Science Journal, fiber may help by saving some antioxidants for later absorption in the digestive tract.

To Juice or Blend

Blending keeps the fiber content, while juicing pulls out the fiber and keeps only the water substances. Obviously blending will help with satiety and also have plenty of nutrient absorption, and juicing will give an immediate concentrated dose of nutrients but lack the fiber. I blend. But there could be medical reasons why you would not want additional fiber; for example, juicing would be better for someone with Gastroparesis (inability for the stomach to empty properly due to vagus nerve damage, such as from high glucose levels in diabetics). 

How much fiber should I get every day?

20 to 35g’s a day according to the United States National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine. Most only get 12 to 18. Men, under 50, should aim for 37+ and women, 25+. Over 50? Slightly less, around 5g less.

Is there an easy way to get fiber?

Eat more vegetables and fruit, all plant based foods will have fiber (they also provide tons of other nutrients and antioxidants as well)! Of course, there are fiber supplements you can take. Be leery if it hasn’t been backed up by scientific studies or has 3rd party verification of the actual ingredients. Personally, I try to take only pharmaceutical grade supplements and nutrition, so I take a meal replacement shake from ID Life every day for Lunch that has additional fiber.

I’m taking more fiber and I still can’t poop!

Drink more water! You need to keep it soft and moving; adding fiber without drinking extra liquids may cause more problems!
 
Resources: Wikipedia Fiber

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