The Role of Fiber in Improving Blood Sugar, Satiety, and Weight Release

Dietary fiber or roughage is a part of plant-based foods that your digestive enzymes cannot break down. Fiber passes through your digestive system relatively intact and, depending on the type of fiber, supports your health in different ways.

Forms of Fiber

Fiber is part of the macronutrient carbohydrates (other macronutrients are protein and fats) and it comes in two forms:

  • Soluble fiber – This form dissolves in water to make a viscous, gel-like substance that is suitable for fermentation. Fermentation is the process by which gut microbes break down fiber. Since fiber is not digestible by gastric enzymes, they move to the intestines where they are fermented by the gut microbes. Eating soluble fiber promotes fiber-fermenting microbes in the gut. Some types of soluble fiber are prebiotics.
  • Insoluble fiber – As the name suggests, this form of fiber does not dissolve in water. This is the bulky substance that is least likely to be fermented in your gut, but is very helpful in moving food forward along your gastrointestinal tract. It is linked to lower insulin resistance.

Fibrous foods usually contain both soluble and insoluble components, so eating fiber-rich foods in general is healthy for your body. A diet high in fiber helps you feel full longer, reduce food cravings, and lower blood sugar.

Body Benefits from Dietary Fiber

  • Fiber Helps You Maintain a Healthy Gut

You know by now that everything starts with the gut. So a healthy gut creates a ripple effect on other parts of your system. Fermentation of the soluble fiber in the gut produces a byproduct called short-chain fatty acids. These include butyrate, acetate, and propionate. According to some animal studies, butyrate decreases appetite, alleviates obesity, and may help the pancreatic beta cells to release insulin. In other studies, people with Type 2 diabetes have lower concentrations of butyrate-producing bacteria compared to those who don’t have the disease.

Both butyrate and propionate suppress appetite by stimulating specific gut hormones. Acetate also helps decrease appetite.

Dietary fiber also helps maintain the integrity of the gut lining, a mucus layer that keeps pathogens out. Reduced fiber can cause gut microbes to start consuming the gut lining, making the gut prone to pathogen invasion and inflammation. Early research supports that low-grade inflammation in the gut lining impairs insulin-receptor signaling causing insulin resistance as well (which can lead to weight gain, blood sugar imbalance or potentially diabetes). 

  • Fiber Decreases Inflammation

When there is dysbiosis or imbalance in the gut microbiome, gut inflammation as well as metabolic changes occur. Fiber is important in feeding the gut microbes and in restoring and maintaining balance in the gut’s ecosystem. Some forms of dietary fiber are prebiotics, which means it serves as food to the gut bacteria and is important in balancing the anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory bacteria in the gut.

According to research by the Finnish Diabetes Prevention, people who ate more fiber have higher levels of indolepropionic acid, a chemical produced by gut bacteria which fights chemicals and regulates blood glucose.

Moreover, the short-chain fatty acids produced by fiber fermentation in the gut also contribute to decreasing inflammation in other ways.

  • Fiber Improves Metabolic Function

Did you know that diets with high soluble fiber have been linked to a reduced risk of Type  2 diabetes? Eating an additional 10 g per day of fiber reduces the risk of diabetes by up to 25%

  •  Supports stool bulking and motility

Insoluble fiber increases the bulking of stool, making food digest more slowly. By doing this, your body extracts less calories from the food you eat. 

Fibrous Foods

  • Raspberries
  • Avocados
  • Artichokes
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Passionfruit
  • Beans
  • Konjac/Glucomannan
  • Lentils and other legumes
  • Cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli)
  • Dark-colored veggies
  • Nuts and seeds (Pumpkin seeds/sesame seeds/almonds/pine nuts/pistachios/pecans/hazelnuts/macadamia nuts)
  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • Turnips
  • Dried figs, prunes, apricots and dates
  • Oranges and nectarines
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Whole grains like barley, oats/oat bran, amaranth, etc.
  • Corn
  • Tofu and tempeh

I recommend slowly increasing the fiber in your diet so that your body can adjust. It’s great to eat a varied diet and listen to your body to see which fiber sources feel best to you.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

P.S.
Know someone who could use my help?
Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

The Sweetener Allulose: Potential Benefits and Risks

We all know by now that sugar is not healthy, but many of us struggle to reduce or eliminate it from our diets because almost all of us like how it tastes.  And, while I love the concept of moderation, most of us really struggle to eat it in small quantities or infrequently: the average American consumes around 17 teaspoons of sugar per day (57 pounds of sugar per year!). So it’s not surprising that many of us are on the lookout for safer and healthier alternatives to sugar that taste good.
I’ve been hearing (good things) about allulose for awhile now, although it is a relatively new sugar substitute on the market.
Allulose, otherwise known as D-psicose, is a naturally occurring sugar found in certain plant foods such as figs, raisins, molasses, maple syrup, and wheat. It can also be produced artificially from corn or fructose.

Allulose is about 70% as sweet as sugar, very similar in taste, chemically similar to fructose (naturally occurring sugar found in fruits) and it is not absorbed by the body so it does not have a significant caloric impact.


Allulose sweetened products have become popular with people who are looking to decrease their added sugar or carb intake, balance blood sugar and reduce diabetes risk, and reduce calorie consumption.  Allulose is commonly found in low or lower carb/sugar-free or lower in sugar/or keto products such as yogurt, granola, cereal, ice cream, cookies, jams, etc.

What Are Its Potential Health Benefits?

  1. Help in Weight Loss – Each gram of allulose only contains 0.4 calories. It’s about 90% less than the calories of sugar. A healthy diet paired with exercise will help you achieve healthy body composition.
  2. Increases Fat Loss – In 2013, a Japanese study in rats showed that administering allulose on a high-sugar diet not only stopped weight gain but also prevented fat accumulation. In another study, feeding allulose to mice increased their energy expenditure and decreased body fat. In addition, allulose was able to alter some enzymes that are involved in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats which may have a positive impact on fat loss.
  3. Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels – Aside from its low glycemic index, allulose has been known to protect the beta cells of the pancreas, which are the cells that synthesize, store, and release insulin–the hormone that regulates the sugar (glucose) levels in the blood.
  4. May Support Liver Health – In animal studies, allulose reduced fat deposits in the liver. More data is needed (and on humans), but there are promising studies showing that allulose may help protect against developing fatty liver disease. Aside from that, a study conducted in Seoul using animals as subjects showed that allulose can reduce the concentration of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver.
  5. Reduction in Inflammation – Inflammation is a good body mechanism designed to protect us. It is the manifestation of our immune system doing its job to defend us from infection. However, with chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorder can develop. In a 2020 study, researchers found out that allulose may interact with the good bacteria in the gut to help reduce inflammation (and improve weight loss).

How to Use Allulose

Allulose has become an easy substitute for regular sugar because they are similar in taste and texture but with much fewer calories and carbs.

You can use it to swap out sugar in your favorite recipes and baked goods.

Many foods that you can find in the grocery today contains allulose. Cereals, candies, sauces, syrups–you name it. Some processed foods also contain allulose.

The primary setback with allulose is that it is more expensive than many other sweeteners. 

What Are Its Risks?

In the US, the FDA recognizes allulose as safe, so it can be used as a sweetener and food additive. In Europe, though, many areas don’t still permit its use.

Studies done in both humans and animals show that allulose can be safely consumed moderately with little to no side effects. As with any food or ingredient, it’s not going to work for everyone. The reported side effects for some people who eat allulose include bloating, diarrhea, and gas.

Takeaways

If you already don’t use sweeteners, you don’t need to add allulose to your diet. If you are looking for how to reduce your sugar consumption, allulose checks off a lot of boxes and is worth a try. Look at the ingredients (sometimes it is combined with other sweeteners) and opt for non-GMO brands. Personally, I have used it in several recipes over the last year or so and really liked it.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session here:bit.ly/schedulinghealth(subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!


~Rebecca

Banana Bread: Healthy & Gluten Free!

My good friend Katie (the Warrior Wife) created and shared this amazing recipe for gluten free, no sugar added banana bread back in 2016!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour (blanched)

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tablespoon tapioca starch (aka tapioca flour)

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan

4 pastured eggs

4 ripe bananas

Optional: cacao nibs, walnuts or pecans

How to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a standard sized loaf pan with coconut oil
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. In another mixing bowl, mix all wet ingredients.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until well combined and add in any optional ingredients you like (cacao nibs, sugar free chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans).
  5. Spread the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40-45 mins until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool before slicing and enjoy!