Five myths about fiber
Fiber is considered to be the ballast of plant foods. On the one hand, it really is not absorbed into the blood, does not provide energy and does not contain nutrients. But at the same time, fiber affects the functioning of almost all systems and organs of our body. How so? Let’s break down the most popular fiber myths and find out what its role in digestion and health is.
What is fiber?
Cellulose is called vegetable dietary fiber, which by its chemical affiliation is related to complex carbohydrates. In simple terms, dietary fiber is the cell walls of plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains. In grains, fiber is found in the outer layers, which are removed during processing.
Myth 1: fiber is useless for the body
This belief has caused many pathological health conditions to arise and flourish. Although fiber does not contain nutrients, it is a big mistake to underestimate it.
Why is fiber useful?
1.Fiber reduces hunger
Upon entering the stomach, fiber absorbs water and gastric juice. Swelling, it increases in volume. The resulting food lump presses on the walls of the stomach and intestines, and a signal of saturation enters the brain. The feeling of hunger is replaced by a feeling of satiety.
An important condition for starting this mechanism is a sufficient amount of water in the body. Therefore, no later than half an hour before meals, it is recommended to drink a glass of water or herbal tea.
2.Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and fats
Being in the intestines in sufficient quantities, fiber absorbs excess fats and simple carbohydrates. This helps to slow down the absorption and reduce the total calorie content of the food eaten the day before.
3.Fiber dissolves and removes toxic substances from the body
To the greatest extent, this applies to soluble dietary fibers, which include pectin, gums, polysaccharides.
4.Fiber has antioxidant properties
Dietary fiber prevents the aggressive effects of toxins on the cells of the body.
5.Fiber improves insulin sensitivity.
The intake of fast carbohydrates causes a sharp increase in blood sugar levels and a corresponding release of insulin. After glucose is utilized, its excess is transported to body fat. Intensive production of insulin contributes to the development of insulin resistance – a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This means that over time, the body requires more and more doses of insulin, and the amount of body fat increases.
6.Fiber promotes colon cleansing
Since fiber is not absorbed by the body, it passes through the intestines in transit, at the same time “sweeping out” the unnecessary.
7.Fiber regulates the intestinal microflora.
Fiber is food for the “good” gut microbes, so its use prevents the appearance of dysbacteriosis. Also, an adequate ratio of protein and fiber in food improves the process of splitting and assimilation of proteins. This, in turn, helps to restore and maintain the balance of the intestinal microflora.
Myth 2: Fiber is only good for the gut.
Of course, the benefits of fiber for the intestines are obvious. Cellulose:
-puts in order the excretory function of the intestine, softening the stool and increasing its volume;
-adsorbs excess bile acids, which, with prolonged contact with the walls of the digestive tract, can become carcinogenic;
-with regular consumption reduces the risk of developing pathological conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
But the benefits of fiber for the whole body cannot be underestimated. This is especially true of soluble fiber, which contributes to:
-lowering the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood;
-flexible control of blood sugar levels by slowing down its absorption;
-increased immunity due to the growth of “good” intestinal bacteria (they feed on fiber);
-a prolonged feeling of satiety with less food eaten and, as a result, weight loss.
Myth 3: All fiber is the same
Dietary fibers are divided into two large groups. You need to make sure that both types of fiber are present in the diet.
1.Insoluble dietary fiber
Lignin and some hemicelluloses.
Contained in grain products, especially in whole grains, as well as in citrus fruits.
2.Soluble dietary fiber
Soluble dietary fiber is an excellent food for beneficial intestinal microflora. Their use helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and remove heavy metals from the body.
Certain hemicelluloses, glucans, pectins, gums, carrageenans, gelling agents, resistant starches and inulin.
Contained mainly in fruits, vegetables, legumes, potatoes and algae.
Myth 4: fiber is absorbed by the body
Dietary fiber feeds “good” bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it is incorrect to talk about the assimilation of fiber – it just undergoes fermentation.
Myth 5: Fiber is good for everyone and in unlimited quantities.
Dietary plant fibers, consumed in large quantities, accelerate the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes the body simply does not have time to absorb the right amount of nutrients. To prevent these conditions when using dietary fiber supplements, it is important to take such complexes in cycles and follow the recommended dose.