I get it, it’s NOT sexy. You’d rather have some exotic superfruit, ancient spice, or Amazonian plant, but there is no other nutrient more important to focus on each day than FIBER. Weight loss, diabetes, heart health, cancer, you name it, eating more Fiber has shown to SIGNIFICANTLY improve your health in all these areas. I’ve said this for years, I’ve proven it in my own health and the health of my clients, if you had one nutrient to key in on each day, it’s fiber. But most don’t listen (or follow the research), less than 5% of Americans get enough fiber each day. Make this one enhancement to your nutrition, plate, bite each day, and you’ll be SEXY HEALTHY in no time!
Fiber up folks..it ain’t just for your grandma!
Q: Seriously Jeevers?!?, you choose Fiber over <insert superfood here>?
A: Yes, YES! If everyone could consume the maximum amount of fiber in their diet (I get at least 50-60 grams), they would be way healthier. The great “disguise” of fiber is that it’s found in all super healthy foods – fruits, vegetables (especially), beans, grains. Fiber supports some of the strongest functions of the body – feeling of fullness, hormonal balance, detoxification, digestion. There is no other, ONE nutrient, that performs all these functions. You literally can’t be healthy without consuming fiber, and the more you eat, the more you’re eating the healthiest foods!
Q: Ok, so what is Fiber?
A: It’s basically a carbohydrate that does not break down (non-digestible) in the body. Regular carbohydrates break down to sugars, which then gets absorbed into the bloodstream and these sugars are used for energy or get stored as fat. Fiber, even though it’s a carbohydrate, has certain properties that cause it not to be broken down.
Q: Is this why some diets subtract fiber from total carbohydrates?
A: Yes, that resulting number is called a “Net Carb”. Most diets that are counting carbohydrates allow you to subtract the amount of fiber because fiber is processed differently in the body. These carb counting diets aren’t so much worried about the carbohydrate amount as the resulting sugars from the carbohydrate’s breakdown. If you have a food that has 10 grams of total carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber, your net carbs are 7 grams.
Q: Are there different types of fiber?
A: Yes, LOTS, but they are all categorized as either Soluble (they dissolve in water) or Insoluble (does not dissolve). Although a better way to categorize them is if they feed the gut bacteria or not, fermented (yes) and non-fermented (no)…but that’s for a different email 😊
Q: Which one is better?
A: They both have great function in the body. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool (prevents constipation), makes you feel full (satiety), and can act like a scrub brush to clean your GI tract. Soluble fiber can lower cholesterol levels, regulate your blood sugar and insulin, and feeds the gut bacteria reducing inflammation. Basically, I use Insoluble to cleanse/detoxify and Soluble to “healthify” (over simplification)
Q: (5) Best sources of each?
A: Soluble: Black Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli. Insoluble: Amaranth (grain), Cauliflower (amount doubles when you cook it!), Spinach, Berries (Prunes), Green Peas.
Q: How much Fiber should I get?
A: As much as your body can tolerate. Too much or too much too quick, can cause gas, bloating, constipation, so start slow. Adult males should get at least 40g per day (I get close to 60g), Women about 25g (I tell my sister to get at least 40g). I tell my 81yr old dad, at least 40g, he gets about 50g (overachiever).
Q: Can I take Fiber supplements?
A: Yes, it’s not easy to eat what I recommend for fiber. Most fiber rich foods are bulky, which is a good thing because they take up space in the gut and keeps you from eating too much. Fiber is cheap, so don’t spend too much. You can get up to half your daily amount, but fiber supplements lack the other beneficial nutrients found in food sources, so don’t rely on them.