Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Is Fiber the Secret to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off?

April 9, 2013 

Possibly, according to Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance. Paleo- biologists have analyzed the three to ten thousand year old stool samples of our ancestors and determined they consumed approximately 100 grams of fiber a day. The Daily Reference Intake (DRI) for fiber today is 25 grams but the average American consumes roughly 12 grams a day! No wonder we’re always constipated. But, according to Lustig, fiber is much more important than just being “roughage”, it may also be the link between metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and obesity.
Dietary Fiber is the part of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains that our gastrointestinal tract or gut can’t digest. In other words it passes through our bodies without being broken down. There are two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, which absorbs water, includes: oatmeal, apples, oranges, pears, nuts, psyllium, asparagus, and carrots. Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water and includes: whole grains, bran, seeds, bulgur, brown rice, celery, fruit, and vegetable skins. In order for fiber to do its job, you need to consume both soluble and insoluble fiber. Why? Because soluble fiber slows digestion and absorption, and is fermented by the bacteria in our gut whereas insoluble fiber isn’t digested at all and is what speeds up the passage of food and wastes through your gut.
How then does fiber help with weight loss? Think of the two forms of fiber working together. The insoluble fiber creates a “latticework” of sorts in which the soluble fiber sits on as they travel through your gut. Together they form a gelatinous barrier between the food and the intestinal wall. This barrier slows the absorption of glucose by the gut. In other words, glucose is released slower into the blood stream and consequently the release of insulin is slowed. Besides being the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels, insulin is also a fat storage hormone. Metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and obesity are epidemic today and no wonder, we consume very little fiber and sugar is in everything. Note, that whenever sugar absorption is slowed down, less insulin will be released and less fat will be stored. Make an effort to increase your fiber daily with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

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