It’s not often you can say that eating more of something will help you to burn off bodyfat, but you can say it about fibre. Scientists are coming to understand more about how dietary fibre in fruit and vegetables plays a vital role, not only in regulating digestion, but in feeding an army of gut bacteria, which may affect immune health, blood sugar levels and even bodyfat. Read on for the six things you need to know about fibre…
Eating Fibre Can Save Your Life – But You Aren’t Getting Enough
It’s well known that eating dietary fibre from foods such as fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and whole grains reduces your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. In fact, a 2015 meta-analysis of studies showed it lowers your chance of dying, full stop. The importance of fibre to health led the UK Government to raise the recommended daily intake to 30g a day. But a recent survey of Brits by Nairns found that 92% of people were not aware of this recommendation, 35% struggle to eat enough fibre and 18% don’t think about it at all.
‘Fiber slows the release of energy into the bloodstream keeping us feeling fuller for longer’
Fibre Is Food For Useful Gut Bacteria
Your body doesn’t actually digest fibre – rather the millions of bacteria that live in your guts break it down, producing fatty acids that your gut walls actually use for energy. In studies this process has been shown to create a calming buffer between the bacteria and your immune system. Disturb this delicate balance – by going on a MacDonalds-heavy, low-fibre diet – and you can send your immune system into overdrive, and suffer chronic inflammation, which can lead to a host of health issues.
Eating Fibre Could Burn Fat
There are several reasons why eating fibre could actually see your bodyfat percentage drop. ‘It can help with weight management, as it slows the release of energy into the bloodstream and keeps us feeling fuller for longer,’ Nutritionist Cassandra Burns tells RSNG. The other reason is less tested, but in a study published in January 2018 mice on a low-fibre diet were shown to be suffering from chronic inflammation, high blood sugar levels and had increased bodyfat. Also in 2018, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that trails showed fibre supplements helped obese people lose 5lbs, on average.
The Problem With Milled Wholemeal
Before you chow down on a whole loaf of brown bread ‘for the fibre’, Burns points out a flaw. ‘When it comes to grains, the less processed they are, the better. When grains are overly milled, such as in flour, bread and pasta, they can be absorbed and release their energy quite quickly, even if you choose ‘wholemeal’ versions.’ So, opting for oats, brown rice and other unmilled wholemeal grains, rather than things made from flour, could be a better bet if your goal is fat loss.
‘When cutting carbs you need to up other foods high in fibre – like milled flaxseeds’
Low Carb Equals Low Fibre*
Reducing the amount of carbs you eat, or even going on a low-carb diet, can be a good way to burn off fat reserves. The problem is that cutting wholegrain carbs will inevitably leave you with less fibre, and may even stop the fat burning in its tracks. So, when cutting carbs you actually need to up other foods high in fibre. For instance, milled flaxseeds deliver an impressive 27g of fibre per 100g and are also packed with anti-inflammatory Omega 3s – put three tablespoons in a breakfast smoothie with fibre-packed fruit and veg for a great start. Pulses and nuts are other great sources of fibre.
How To Eat More Fibre
Of course, just scoffing more bran flakes isn’t appealing, or practical, for everybody and according to the studies with mice it seems that you actually need a variety of sources of fibre to fully benefit. So, try these tasty hacks: if you like fruit then get some raspberries or blackberries into your life; keep eating surprisingly high-fibre avocados in salads; grate veggies into sauces and if you’re eating brownies or baked foods then look for recipes using pulses and pureed fruit.
WHAT NEXT? Watch this fiber hacked, healthy mac n cheese recipe (we’d use wholemeal pasta)…
Comments are for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your Doctor before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.
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