Today I want to talk to you about fiber. This can be such a source of confusion! Is fiber good for me? How much do I need? Could fiber be making my digestion worse?
There is not one answer that is true for every single person. Let me share with you some key facts about fiber that could help you to experience your best health.
Fiber is basically just the parts of plants (veggies, fruits, grains) that your body can’t digest . It passes through your body and your bacteria feed off of them (fiber is food for your gut bugs; we’ll talk about how this can be both good and bad).
So, keeping your gut happy is extremely important. Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive.
It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
3 Things You Must Know About Fiber
1) There isn’t a set amount that everyone should aim for.
When we look closely at studies with any thousands of people, some show that increased fiber intake is protective against digestive-tract cancer and heart disease….some don’t show any protection. One study including over 80,000 women and followed them for 16 yrs and there was no association between fiber intake and colorectal cancer (and this same conclusion was found in a study involving 40,000 men). The Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 13 studies involving over 700,000 people. Once the researchers adjusted for variables like exercise, they found NO protective effect of fiber intake (of any kind) on colorectal cancer. Similar research exists for IBS, heart disease and obesity–the research is really mixed.
2) There isn’t one type of fiber (or one diet for that matter) that is right for everyone. The foods and types of fibers that are right for your body could make another person feel terrible. Cutting out processed foods and eating to control blood sugar tends to be more important than trying to eat a lot of fiber. For certain conditions like Celiac, lots of fiber can make symptoms worse. For constipation, upping fiber can be helpful. It’s not black and white and that is where getting some guidance can make all the difference.
3) Lower fiber might be better at reducing inflammation and weight loss.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 22 studies and found that “a diet that controls blood sugar is better at reducing inflammation than a diet that increases fiber.” Over 50 studies found that low-carb diets are better for weight loss than low-fat (higher fiber) diets. This doesn’t mean that if you’re eating a higher fiber diet and feeling awesome that you should lower your fiber intake. It does suggest that if you’ve been trying to add more fiber and your symptoms aren’t improving or even getting worse, you may want to try a different approach.
In a nutshell, the generic recommendation to eat more fiber isn’t universally supported in the research. I’ve definitely seen it make some clients feel worse and for other clients, it was really helpful. Your dietary needs are unique. If you are having symptoms, they can help point you in the direction of what needs adjusting. Sometimes it is a simple adjustment and other times, there are multiple adjustments that are needed.
Bottom line, your body was designed to be healthy and fiber is but one piece of that puzzle. If you’re struggling with your weight, digestion/gut, or energy, and you would love to feel like yourself again, I’m inviting you to set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here.
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
References: Healthy Gut, Healthy You by Dr. Michael Ruscio