Everybody poops. It's a universal truth, and it's largely thanks to fibre — the most widely unappreciated dietary hero. But fibre's benefits extend beyond ensuring your toilets get frequent use. Here are some of fibre's benefits, and how to know if you're getting enough of it.
So what exactly is fibre? Technically, fibre is a type of carbohydrate, but unlike carbohydrates which have four calories per gram, fibre's caloric content depends on whether it's insoluble fibre or soluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre cannot truly be digested and contains no calories. On the other hand, dieticians haven't come to a clear consensus on the caloric count of soluble fibre and argue it's somewhere between two and four calories. (I can only imagine these debates are ferocious.)
And it gets more complex than that. Between chemists, botanists and nutritionists, the actual definition of the nutrient is contested (who would have assumed that fibre could be so controversial). But for our purposes, let's just go ahead and assume that we can track our fibre consumption by the nutritional labelling (and data) of our food.
As Lyle mentions in the article below, some of the benefits of fibre include:
- Promoting fullness and satiety.
- Improving blood sugar regulation.
- Decreasing blood cholesterol.
- Pooping regularly.
- Reducing the body's absorption of other calories (which can be beneficial in a weight loss context.)
As for how much fibre we need every day, according to Lyle:
The American Dietetic Association recommends an intake of 10-13 grams of fibre per 1000 calories consumed. This is roughly 20-30 grams per day for an average day's diet of 2000-3000 calories per day. It's worth noting that the average fibre intake in the modern diet is about 10-11 grams/day which is far below this.
One last caveat: Too much of a good thing is... not so good. Don't try to increase your fibre intake too fast (too furious?), unless you're planning to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. You've been warned.
Fibre - It's Nature's Broom [bodyrecomposition.com]