Everyone is obsessed with counting things; Calories consumed, calories burned, weight loss/gain, BMI, hours of sleep, exercise time, macronutrients, etc. But who is actually counting fibre? (No one!) Perhaps those on a low carb diet but honestly it’s really not high on anyone’s metrics. It should be. Fibre has so many beneficial qualities. It is often overlooked and sometimes villainized, much like fat was over 40 years ago.
There are two types of fibre 1) Soluble – forms a gel and slows digestion. Think about Metamucil or psyllium when you stir it in glass, it gets gel-like if left to settle. 2) Insoluble – doesn’t get digested and adds bulk to stool to speed how things pass through our GI tract.
Most veggies have both. So, veggie skins like apple skins would be more insoluble whereas the inside would be more soluble.
Why I love Fibre
- I love fibre for its ability to slow down absorption of carbs. This means less spikes in blood sugar and less work on your pancreas having to pump out vast amounts of insulin to deal with cleaning up the excess sugar. Glycemic control is key for those with both type 1 and 2 Diabetes
- I also love fibre for it’s satiety. We feel full after eating fibre and therefore may eat less. Think about it….how many apples could you possibly eat?
- I love fibre for weight loss. In terms of weight loss, a meta-analysis of published studies suggests that adding an additional 14 grams of fibre for >2 days led to an average weight loss of 1.9kgs over 3.8 months. Weight loss is even greater in obese individuals. This includes both fibre derived from foods as well as supplements. (Haworth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB) Dietary fibre and weight regulation. Nutrition Reviews May 2001.)
- I love fibre for its ability to lower blood cholesterol levels
- I love fibre for its ability to lower cancer risk
- And finally, fibre feeds good gut bacteria. And feeding the good guys in our guts is very important to keep the balance aligned between the good and bad bacteria. Remember that 70+% of our immune system is in our guts.
Do’s and Don’ts of Fibre
I do not recommend loading up on fibre if you are constipated. It will make matters worse. It would definitely be something I would start to introduce slowly once the constipation issues were effectively dealt with. Constipation aside, for those that aren’t used to eating a lot of fibre also start slowly or you will definitely feel the effects – bloating, gas and GI discomfort.
I do recommend increasing water intake when increasing fibre intake in the realm of 2 litres total liquids per day. Remember that it doesn’t all have to be plain water, sparkling waters count, as do other beverages, soups and don’t disregard naturally occurring water in fruits and veggies (albeit tougher to quantify). My go-to is always Reverse Osmosis water for its purity, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
Fibre comes in all shapes and sizes – tofu, popcorn, rolled oats, chia seeds, kiwi, chickpeas, apples, avocado, figs, brown rice.
How much fibre do we need? It depends on the individual. Health Canada suggests adult women need 25 grams per day and adult men 38 gram per day. Sadly, most people aren’t getting even half of those recommendations, especially if you are following a low carb diet. I would even suggest more fibre is better.
For powder formulas, I recommend:
- Cyto Matrix Cyto-Fibre which is FODMAP friendly, non-GMO and certified organic
- Genestra Herbal Bulk is a soluble and insoluble combination of psyllium, oat and rice bran
- Metagenics Metafibre is great for those sensitive to psyllium, wheat, corn or citrus.
- NFH Trifibe SAP-340
For those that don’t prefer powder formats, I recommend:
Feb 2021 Nutrition Dispensary Inc.
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