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The Importance of Fibre

Posted on March 26, 2014 by Ruth Buttigieg | 0 comments

A common health theme covered by health agencies is the importance of dietary fibre in our diet. Whilst this is a good message all around, some individuals still do not manage to meet their daily requirement of an average 18g of dietary fibre a day (as set out by UK guidelines). Yet what is fibre and what does it do?


Fibre, or dietary fibre (also referred to as roughage), are substances that are food within the plant kingdom. Humans are unable to digest dietary fibre as we do not have the necessary enzymes in our gut to break it down to be able to absorb any energy from it. This was the prevailing theory, however new research has shed light on the importance of consuming dietary fibre in one’s diet for a variety of reasons .

 

What is Dietary Fibre?

Dietary fibre is a subdivision of the larger macronutrient group carbohydrates. Examples of dietary Fibre include most green vegetables. Nuts can also be classified as fibre but due to their high protein and fat content are frequently not listed in this food group. Naturally some starches (complex carbohydrates ) do contain a degree of dietary fibre too.

 

Dietary Fibre can be further divided into two groups:


1). Soluble Dietary Fibre - is water soluble and readily fermented in the gut through the action of gut bacteria.

2). Insoluble Dietary Fibre - is insoluble in water. For the most part, insoluble dietary fibre passes intact through our gut, however these can still be fermented by gut bacteria. They also help to provide bulk thereby helping the movement of food through the system [2].


Digestion

 

Simple carbohydrates and starch are digested and absorbed through the same mechanism. Starch is broken down into its simple sugar molecules. These simple carbohydrates are then taken up into the bloodstream causing the blood sugar levels to rise and in turn causing an insulin spike.

The difference in digestion for dietary fibre is that due to its chemical structure, we are unable to digest it into its smaller components for absorption. Hence dietary fibre does not cause a blood sugar and insulin spike. Studies have shown it is able to change the way nutrients and chemicals are absorbed through our gut [2, 3]. Due to our inability to digest dietary fibre into its smaller components for absorption, it does not cause a blood sugar and insulin spike.


Contribution to Health

 

Dietary Fibre’s role in our health is often taken for granted. Foods rich in dietary fibre are not only full of other micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins, but are also less energy dense and help with management of conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes [1]. Once digested, dietary fibre interacts with our satiety hormones with studies showing that dietary fibre regularises food cravings by helping us to feel fuller [4]. Studies have also shown that by consuming a diet sufficient in dietary fibre is beneficial for heart health [5].

The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.

On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the process. On our programme you will be consuming sufficient dietary fibre from the fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts that we recommend.

Therefore the Natural Ketosis way is not only about making the right choices, it is also about keeping healthy long-term.




References:

  1. Manisha Chandalia, M.D., Abhimanyu Garg, M.D., Dieter Lutjohann, Ph.D., Klaus von Bergmann, M.D., Scott M. Grundy, M.D., Ph.D., and Linda J. Brinkley, R.D. (2000) Beneficial Effects of High Dietary Fiber Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. N Engl J Med, 342, p1392-1398

  2. Judith A Marlett, Michael I McBurney, Joanne L Slavin (2002) Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 102 (7), p993-1000.

  3. R Puupponen-Pimiä, A.-M Aura, K.-M Oksman-Caldentey, P Myllärinen, M Saarela, T Mattila-Sandholm, K Poutanen (2002) Development of functional ingredients for gut health. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 13 (1),  p3-11.

  4. Joanne L. Slavin (2005) Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition, 21 (3), p411-418

  5. Threapleton DE ,Greenwood DC ,Evans CEL ,Cleghorn CL ,Nykjaer C ,Woodhead C ,et al. (2013) Dietary fibre intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 347:f6879


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