During our series on gut flora, we’ve talked about what it is, how to balance it, and what kills it (include hyperlinks). Today we want to talk about the benefits of fiber.


Fiber acts as a prebiotic, providing food for the good bacteria in our gut. And some fibers act as postbiotics creating healthy compounds in our colon, such as short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.


Fiber and Weight Loss


The subject of fiber intake and weight loss has mixed opinions, and studies are not conclusive in either direction. However, the studies tend to more strongly support the premise that the increase of fiber does increase weight loss potential, reduce cholesterol, improve the management of type-2 diabetes, and cut the risk of heart disease and some cancers.


Two Types of Fiber – Soluble and Insoluble


Our diet has two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are non-digestible and provide no caloric energy that is either burned as energy or stored as fat.


Soluble fiber is soluble in water, swells, and absorbs water, becoming a gelatinous substance in our gut during the digestive process. It is soothing to the digestive tract and binds with fats helping to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and slowing down the absorption of sugars, thus reducing blood sugar levels.  Ground flax seeds and chia seeds are excellent sources of soluble fiber. In addition, soluble fiber may help with diarrhea and constipation.


Insoluble fiber helps with constipation and keeps the digestive tract clean by moving the digestive process along. It’s essential to drink plenty of water when increasing your fiber intake.


Both types of fiber are filling, providing satiation leading to lower calorie consumption. However, it is essential that those looking to lose weight follow a lower glycemic diet that is higher in fiber. Fiber sources in the diet should be from low-sugar fruits like berries and low-starch vegetables like avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, and winter squashes. Don’t forget the powerhouse of fiber – legumes. Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) are the highest source of fiber in our diet.


Why Fiber is Good for You


Dietary fiber does many great things for us. I believe that fiber should be a part of everyone’s diet. There is no question that fiber from low-starch plant foods is vital to a healthy diet. A fiber-rich diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds offers abundant vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and additional phytonutrients. But, unfortunately, the average American only gets 1/4 to 1/3 of their minimum daily fiber requirements. Maybe it’s one of the contributing reasons there is so much obesity, disease, and illness in our great country.


Certain fiber types can do more harm than good if you have specific digestive problems like colitis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s. Make sure you work with a qualified health professional experienced with digestive disorders.


To see how Vive Shake can help with fiber and gut health, contact us today at info@viveshake.com or 877-878-3009. Next time, we’ll finish our gut flora series by talking about how increasing fiber improves your gut health.


Vive Shake and the recommendations contained on this site and our blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. They are for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.