How Do I Know If I Need More Fiber?
What a lot of People Don’t Know About Fiber
Dietary fiber is actually a form of carbohydrate that the body cannot break down. It has no calories and provides no energy, so why do you need it and exactly how much fiber do you need? I’m sure your grandmother told you fiber helps move things along, right? I was raised eating prunes for breakfast and I can tell you, I don’t care how much fiber is in them, I will not touch another prune! If you’re having digestive issues, it’s probably linked to not getting enough fiber in your diet.
Another interesting fact about fiber is that it’s very helpful for clearing up skin conditions such as breakouts and Eczema. Your gut contains bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are a type of fiber that help to fight the bad bacteria. Prebiotic fiber is also beneficial to increasing the good bacteria. Skin eruptions occur because this is the way your body eliminates harmful bacteria. If you increase your fiber intake, you will have do it slowly so that your body has time to adjust. You will also need to increase the amount of water you are drinking or you will experience severe discomfort such as bloating, gas and constipation.
There are Two Types of Fiber: Soluble and Insoluble
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, creating a gel when it reaches your small intestine. This slows down the digestive process so that your body has more time to absorb vitamins and minerals. (That’s good.) Insoluble fiber absorbs water and actually speeds up digestion. This type is the rigid, woody fiber that serves as a protective barrier – like the skin on an apple. Because it stays intact throughout the digestive process, it helps sweep out lingering waste. Insoluble fiber also protects starchy carbs from fast acting enzymes in the stomach, blocking the rapid release of sugar molecules into the bloodstream. Here’s a handy list of foods that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Quick Tip About Fiber on the Ingredients Label
Next time you look at a label and count carbs, be sure to subtract the fiber grams from the carb grams to get the true picture or net carb value. The amount of fiber determines how these carbs are going to impact your blood sugar. I’ve met so many people that do not know this – they see something and say “that has way too many carbs.” They don’t realize it’s not the amount of carbs, but how fast the carbs are being delivered into your bloodstream. Complex carbs are digested more slowly. You want carbs that are high in fiber and low in sugar. For a more detailed explanation go here.
How much fiber do you need?
I would recommend at least 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Don’t forget to drink lots of water if you are increasing your fiber intake, and take it slow! Too much too fast will cause intestinal distress – and we all know what that means.