Fake Fiber

Fiber if a group of nondigestible carbohydrates that are not broken down in your digestive
track. They can be broken down into:

Intact fiber (in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other plants or a mix of plants)
Processed fiber (extracted from plants or made in a lab)

The problem is that they don’t all do the same thing and any processed fiber counts as fiber on the Nutrition Facts labels. There is no problem with intact fiber so if you eat a plant-based diet, you’re getting them all. But processed fibers are a different story. Many have no health benefit at all.

So what fiber do what?
It depends upon the physiological characteristics of the fiber:

Soluble: dissolves in water, then thickens or forms a gel
Insoluble: insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is left intact as food
moves through the gastrointestinal tract.
Fermentable: broken down by gut bacteria in the large intestines

Many processed fibers are soluble, non-viscous, and fermentable, making them
the least likely to do much for your health.

Why take fiber? – besides reducing the risk of death from any cause
To prevent constipation, look for fiber that increase stool mass and stool frequency, take both

Soluble: dissolves in water, then thickens or forms a gel
Insoluble (to be effective, it has to be relative coarse. The coarseness irritates
the liming of the bowels, which stimulates water to be secreted. And it’s this water that leads to the softening and bulking effect on stool).
Soluble is a gel-forming fiber, able to hold moisture in the large bowel.

To lower cholesterol: look for soluble, gel-forming fibers. As the fiber moves down
your intestine, it absorbs water from partially digested foods, making the mass
thicker and more sludge-like. That traps the bile acids our bodies make to break
fat down, preventing fat reabsorption and instead eliminating them thru the stool.
To replace the excreted bile acids your liver must use cholesterol, making is less available to travel your blood stream.
To manage blood sugars: look for soluble fiber. Once again by thickening the mush
of food traveling down the intestines, absorption of nutrients and glucose is
reduced, slowing the absorption of glucose.
To manage your weight: select whole foods with fiber. These foods tend to be more
filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer.
And high fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,”
which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
If you ae getting a plant-based diet, a mix of fruits vegetables, beans, whole grains and
unrefined starch, you are getting all you need.

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