Let’s talk roughage… Not the most exciting topic in the world but a very important piece of any dietary puzzle nonetheless. We’ve all heard about the importance of fiber when it comes to the gut, but here are some other factoids about fiber you may find interesting.
That, or you will click out of here to search for something more exciting – like trucking regulations.
- Fiber is the non-digestible part of a plant. It is broken into 2 categories – soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber forms a gel when it comes in contact with water. Sources include; Oats, beans, apples, nuts, seeds, oranges and berries.
- Insoluble fiber remains intact as it passes through the digestive tract. Sources include; whole grains, wheat bran, seeds, carrots and other vegetables
- Only 1 in 10 North Americans get the recommended 25-40g of fiber per day!
- We eat about 33% less fiber than we did a century ago (a rough(age) estimate).
- Fiber works magically in the digestive tract as it slows down the passage of food in the stomach and speeds it through the intestines. It also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria
- Fiber slows the release of blood sugar, which helps keep weight and type II diabetes at bay.
- Fiber has a modest effect on cholesterol but its real cardiovascular benefit is in its effect on C-reactive protein – a marker of inflammation that is far more telling than cholesterol when it comes to heart disease risk. Ones study showed that those who ate about 22g of fiber had an average of 63% lower levels of C-RP than those who ate about 10g.
- One study showed that adding 10g of fiber resulted in a 20% decrease in heart attacks.
- A study of over 400 adults with previous suicide attempts found only 2 nutritional differences between them and the control group without such history. One of them was low fiber intake (the other was polyunsaturated fat intake). This may not be causative but it’s interesting.
- Interestingly, fiber consumption does not appear to reduce the risk of colon cancer
- Those who suffer from IBS may even benefit from the elimination of certain fibers such as bran to reduce abdominal distress
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds nuts and whole grains to get your fiber intake up. A gradual increase is best.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2006; vol 83: pp 760-766
- Nutrition (2005)
- New England Journal of Medicine. 342: 1149, 2000
- Journal of the American Medical Association Feb. 1996 447-451
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences (2005)