[as seen in the Oxford Review July 5, 2012] I have never written on this topic before. The particular nutrient I will write about helps with so many things I find it amazing. It helps you feel full after eating, slows down gastric emptying, lowers cholesterol, activates your immune system, aids in detoxification, elimination and fat loss to name a few. If you want to know more about fibre, then please keep reading.
When I ask my clients this simple question, “Are you getting enough?” most of them say yes. However, upon examination of their 14-day food diary I am confronted with the fact that they are not. The truth is that many people are undernourished when it comes to their fibre intake.
Now you may be thinking, “Well Dave .. fibre isn’t actually classified as a nutrient.” If that thought came into your head, you would be right. However, that doesn’t change my view that fibre should be a considered as a nutrient – so I will make reference to it in that manner. I hope you don’t mind.
We often her fibre discussed in the context of bowel health, cholesterol and gastric emptying. Now it seems that we can discuss fibre in the context of mortality as well.
In a recent study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on May 30th of this year, an international team of researchers found a reduction in mortality during 12.7 years of follow-up among men and women who consumed higher amounts of fiber. The particular study included a very large cohort of 452,717 participants and was part of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) initiative, which looks at different dietary patterns across ten European countries. The average age when the study began was 50.8 years.
The results of the study found that for each 10 gram per day that subjects increase total fiber intake there was an associated 10 percent lower mortality risk. Those living the longest had a fiber intake at 28.5 grams per day.
So my recommendation is to aim for at least 25 grams per day.
An examination of the 23,582 deaths that occurred during the study found that fibre had an amazingly protective effect for circulatory, respiratory, digestive and inflammatory diseases. It should come as no surprise that the greatest benefit was associated with digestive disorders.
Having an efficient digestive system is very important to having a high quality of life. While the adage “you are what you eat” may be popular, I prefer to say it this way “you are what you don’t eliminate.”
Your intestinal tract is so vital to your health that science is expending a lot of resources on this topic. For example, the results of a meta-analysis appearing in the British Medical Journal, published online on November 11, 2011, found that an increased intake of dietary fiber could aid in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
There are several possible mechanisms responsible for fiber’s protective effects. An increase in stool bulk and a dilution of carcinogens in the colonic lumen, and bacterial fermentation of fiber to short chain fatty acids, are all thought to play a role.
The bacteria in your gut like the way that fibre is packaged in whole food vegetables like broccoli and avocados (avocados are unbelievable high in fibre and are a brilliant source of good fat!). This is why I diligently advocate for whole food sources of nutrients. I always recommend eat good high quality food first. If you still need something to supplement your diet – that is when you use a nutritional helper like glucomannan.
The Japanese are some of the longest-lived peoples in the world. They have eaten glucomannan for centuries and it is the main ingredient in shirataki noodles and konnyaku – which are traditional Japanese foods.
For those interested in the sciency-side of fibre, there seem to be several mechanisms that help to control weight, improve glycemic control, and aid in the maintenance of a favourable intestinal environment. It appears that fiber may help protect against circulatory diseases in that it lowers low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (when LDL is elevated it is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease). Additionally, Fiber intake has also been associated with a reduction in inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
With all the great and amazing benefits of fibre, shouldn’t you be asking yourself, “Am I getting enough?”
As Always – Eat Fibre. Exercise Hard. And Smile!Read More →