What’s the Deal with Fiber?

May 20, 2022

A very under-appreciated micronutrient, which becomes a focal point of many Prefusion Health Client protocols is Fiber and the amount consumed in their diets.  Why does Fiber become such an important focus of some of our Client Protocols?  Fiber can aid in improving some hugely important symptoms and biomarkers, including:

  •     Lowering LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol)
  •     Lowering blood sugar levels
  •     Improving bowel movements and constipation
  •     Bloating and poor digestion
  •     Low energy and constant fatigue
  •     Improving hormonal balance and efficiency 

 

Many of the issues our clients suffer from can be improved or even fully resolved by implementing more fiber into their meals and snacks.  Through our Prefusion Health Protocol, we’ve seen clients LDL and blood sugar levels substantially improve, as well as major improvements in gut and digestive health and overall energy! 

 

To get a better understanding of the work Fiber does, here are a few quick reasons for introducing more Fiber into your daily intake:

  •     Fiber normalizes your bowel movements by adding bulk to your stool and decreasing the prevalence of constipation. 
  •     Fiber can lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  •     Fiber aids in controlling your blood sugar levels by slowing your body’s absorption of sugar and preventing large Insulin spikes that may result in unfavorable weight gain and insulin resistance.
  •     Fiber regulates your hunger levels. High-fiber foods digest slowly and are much more filling than lower-fiber foods, which can prevent you from overeating at mealtime.

 

What Is Dietary Fiber?

 Dietary fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate found in plant-based foods (think: fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains!) that cannot be broken down. Fiber helps add bulk to your stool and move waste out of your body with ease. Sufficient fiber intake is extremely beneficial for your gut, heart, and metabolic health because it reduces cholesterol levels, supports healthy gut bacteria, and plays a role in balancing blood sugar. Studies also show that people who eat more fiber weigh less and report less instances of chronic disease (Dahl, n.d).  

 

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

The recommended Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) in fiber for adults is 25-35g per day. Unfortunately, a large majority of Americans do not even come close to meeting this goal, and thus suffer from many symptoms of a low fiber diet, like high cholesterol, constipation, and high blood sugar. The standard American diet is notoriously low in fiber and high in refined carbohydrates and sugars that can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and more. The good news, it’s never too late to start eating more fiber, and increasing your intake will greatly improve your overall health. 

 

Not all Fiber is equal!

There are two types of fiber- soluble and insoluble

Soluble fiber from foods dissolves in our gastrointestinal fluids and produces a gel-like substance. This gel-like substance causes digestion to slow down. Soluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol by binding to cholesterol particles and excreting them out of our bodies through our stool. LDL cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol” can clog up your arteries and block blood flow to the heart, which increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Keeping LDL cholesterol on the low side by maintaining a high soluble fiber intake is a great way to prevent these heart-health issues. Soluble fiber also plays a role in decreasing blood glucose levels. Since it slows digestion (including the digestion of carbohydrates), soluble fiber prevents large blood sugar spikes during meals that can lead to fatigue, weight gain, insulin resistance, and other dangerous health issues. Sources of soluble fiber include apples, citrus fruits, bananas, beans, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, and oats. 

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water, but instead serves to promote the movement of food through the digestive tract by drawing water into your stool to promote its softness and increase its bulk. Because of its positive effects on your bowel movements, incorporating insoluble fiber into your daily diet is a great way to prevent or reduce constipation and bloating. Sources of insoluble fiber include nuts and nut butters, whole wheat products, and vegetables. 

 

How Can You Incorporate Fiber Into Your Daily Diet?

Dietary fiber is mainly found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The recommended Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) in fiber for adults is 25-35g per day. Currently, the average dietary fiber intake among adults is approximately 15g per day, which is well below the recommendation to keep your body healthy. At Prefusion Health, you’ll work closely with our team of Registered Dietitians who will include plenty of sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber into your everyday life so that you can reap all of the rewards of this amazing micronutrient! 

If you find that your dietary fiber intake is lacking, it is definitely a good idea to start increasing it. Schedule your appointment with one of Prefusion Health’s Registered Dietitians who will determine your fiber needs for you based on your detailed biofeedback and health goals. Our Prefusion Health Protocol emphasizes a FOOD FIRST approach when it comes to fiber- we believe in eating your fiber rather than taking a fiber supplement. Through the elimination of processed foods and incorporation of a healthful, higher fiber meal plan, we ensure that our clients meet their fiber needs and avoid uncomfortable gut issues and serious health problems that are typically associated with a low fiber diet.

 

Tips From Prefusion Health’s Registered Dietitians

Check out some of our favorite RD-approved food swaps to help you increase your daily fiber intake: 

  1. Instead of having a granola bar for breakfast, try a bowl of oatmeal with berries.
  2. Swap white rice for brown rice and refined flour for whole grain flour.
  3. Try chickpea flour pasta (such as Banza) to get more than three times the amount of fiber you would if you ate the same serving size of traditional white flour pasta.

 

  High Fiber Foods Cheat Sheet

Food Amount of Fiber per Serving (g) Daily Value (%)
Lentils 7 g 25%
Apple 6 g  21%
Quinoa 5 g 18%
Oats 4 g 13%
Sweet potato 4 g 13%
Banana 3 g 11%
Almond Butter 3 g 11%
Ezekiel Bread 3 g 11%
Brown Rice 2 g  7%

 

The Bottom Line

Dietary fiber is so important for your overall health and well-being. Furthermore, it can curb hunger and make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which is especially helpful when trying to lose weight. Next time you sit down for a meal or snack, make sure to add a dietary fiber source to your plate so that you can reap all of its health benefits! 

Click here to schedule a FREE discovery call to learn more!

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