Facts about fibre
Many people know that more fibre is needed in their daily diets and some of us don’t quite consume enough. Consuming more fibre can help in many different ways. Some people may need it to lower cholesterol or blood sugar, or simply to help with regular bowel movements.
According to a panel of scientists, the daily intake of fibre for women aged 50 and under is 25g, and for men its 38g. Women over 50 require 21g and men require 30g. This isn’t because as you get older, you need less, it’s because as you age your body doesn’t need as many calories.
Unfortunately, many of us only consume 50% of the recommended daily intake. So why is it so important for us to get the full recommended daily intake and why is this so detrimental for our health and well-being? The issue is that by not consuming at least the recommended daily intake of fibre, we could be putting ourselves at a bigger risk of some major health issues, ones that are bigger than irregular bowel movements.
Before society was introduced into todays processed fake fibres lots of different whole foods contained a whole whack of healthy mixed fibres – whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies. Sadly today, companies are adding in isolated (bad) fibres in powder form to foods that should not even contain ANY fibre at all. The simple question still remains ‘but why?’. Let’s look at how fibre can help you avoid some major health issues;
Data and previous studies have shown a link that fibre prevents cardiovascular disease. It has been found in a past study that there was a lower risk of heart disease in people that reported eating the most fibre. These studies also showed that the foods that helped protect the cardiovascular system the most were grains, and the fibre found in them. One thing that scientists however are uncertain of, is if the fibre protecting our hearts is soluble or insoluble fibre. This is due to fibres link with cholesterol – soluble fibres seem to reduce cholesterol, whereas insoluble fibres do not. The best way to protect your heart and keep you pumping is to eat a balanced mix of whole grains, fruits and vegetables to keep you covered, instead of processed fibres such as those added into yogurts and frozen desserts etc. This way you’re keeping the full fibre package in your diet.
Once again, evidence has shown that fibre is also linked to another huge health issue today, diabetes. Just like heart disease, incorporating fibre from whole foods in your diet such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of diabetes.
Results from 2 studies – one on 65,000 women, and another on 43,000 men, showed that those who reported eating the most fibre from grains (approx. 8g) showed a huge 30% less risk than those consuming the least amount (approx.. 3g). Scientists believe that it’s the gummy-like soluble fibres in oats and barley tend to keep blood sugar levels under control. This could potentially be because of the idea that fibre slows down absorption of carbohydrates in foods, so blood sugar levels do not peak.
Since the 80’s as time and technology have progressed, the idea that fibre can prevent colon cancer is still somewhat inconclusive. Over 3 years, 700 people were told to eat 13.5g of wheat bran and another 700 were told to eat only 2g daily. At the end of this study, those consuming more fibre had no fewer pre-cancerous colon polyps that those consuming a lot less. A second study was conducted, that this time included 2000 people over 4 years. The first 1000 were told to eat a low-fat diet rich in fibre (36g daily) from whole foods, and the second 1000 people were to eat their normal diet. Once again, at the end of the study, those consuming a low-fat, fibre-rich diet had no fewer polyps. A third and much larger study by EPIC (European investigation into Cancer & Nutrition) who tracked 500,000 people in 10 countries over 5 years this time. This time, the results were a success – the people out of those 500,000 who were consuming more fibre showed a whopping 40% lower risk of colon cancer. So why is it possible that two studies failed, and one showed huge success? It is possible that it’s not just about ‘fibre’, but rather something about fibre-eaters that lowers their risk. Although lowering the risks of heart disease and diabetes is larger, cancer may possibly be prevented by consuming more fibre over a lengthier period of time.
What if eating fibre rich foods could also help you maintain your weight? Fibre can potentially slow down the rate of food leaving your stomach, keeping you full for lengthier periods of time. A study on approximately 75,000 women who increased their fibre by 12g daily, had an 8lb weight loss. A second study was with 22,000 men who increased their fibre by 20g and had a weight loss of 12lbs. This weight loss is based on eating high fibre whole foods, as opposed to high-fibre snacks and foods that are still high in calories.
So what’s the difference – Isolated and Natural Fibres?
As mentioned previously, nowadays companies are adding in isolated fibres – Inulin, cellulose, and oat hull fibres to foods and labeling them with ‘added fibre’. This type of fibre is not naturally occurring. In order for fibre to be helpful, it has to be soluble or insoluble to help with certain conditions. For example, to lower bad cholesterol, fibre has to be soluble and viscous. Inulin, a non-natural fibre, is soluble but not viscous so it wouldn’t have the same effects on the human body as a natural fibre.
When talking also about regularity, Inulin and other false fibres are eaten up by the gastrointestinal tract before making it through. Therefore, they don’t help with this either. The only thing these types of fibres can do for you, is to give you regular gas buildup and other gastrointestinal issues. Who wants that? The scary thing is that both isolated and naturally occurring fibres are all labeled the same on food products. So what’s the best way to ensure you’re getting the good stuff? Whole foods!
Add in these super foods to your daily diet to ensure a fibre-rich, super healthy lifestyle and find out what health problems you could help avoid.
- Contains good cholesterols, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation and is amazing for lowering your risks of heart disease.
- Contains high quality lean proteins needed to naturally balance blood sugars and improve circulation; great for helping those with diabetes and also helping to avoid it.
- Natural appetite suppressant, high in fibre, leading to reduced cravings for sugary, starchy foods. Users have reported losing up to 1lb per day in some cases; fabulous for those with obesity concerns and weight loss.
- Helping to clear bowels, fantastic for helping with regularity.
- Natural hemp oils found in hemp hearts contain plant sterols reducing risk of colon cancer.
- High in magnesium which helps with keeping blood vessels healthy, improving cardiovascular health and reducing risk for heart disease.
- High in manganese, magnesium, folate, and phosphorous preventing diabetes and aiding those with it.
- Low in calories. Full of vitamins and minerals to aid breakdown of fats. Perfect for those wanting weight loss, or those needing help with obesity.
- A complete protein, high in fibre, making it easy to digest so the body doesn’t have to work hard to break it down or store it in the stomach for long, helping with regularity.
- Reduces secretion of bile acids which are linked to colon cancer.
Oats and Oat products
- Lowers cholesterol, aiding in lower risks of heart disease.
- Balances blood sugar levels reducing diabetes risk and diabetic complications with those already diagnosed
- High in soluble fibre, aiding in slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness, helping those with weight loss and/or obesity.
- Helps to rid the body of toxins due to high soluble fibre, helping with regularity.
- Anti-carcinogenic due to high fibre content, aiding in colon health and preventing colon cancer.
- Reduces levels of inflammation in the heart, prevents fatty deposits and supports cardiovascular health helping with the prevention of heart disease.
- Stabilizes blood sugar. Supporting diabetes prevention and conditions.
- Reduces cravings for sweets, boosts metabolism, and high antioxidant, great for weight loss and management and those struggling with obesity.
- Easily digestible and high in fibre helping you with your regularity and prevention of colon cancer.
- Highest dietary source of magnesium, supporting your heart, decreasing blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, and dilating blood vessels, amazing for heart disease prevention
- High in dietary fibre and rich in antioxidants (richest natural source!) aiding with regularity, obesity, and the prevention of colon cancer.
Copyright Ann Barnes 2016.