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Importance of Fiber

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

For an intact nutrient that is often called “roughage,” fiber is critically important for us.

Fiber is an intact nutrient that despite being a carbohydrate, cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. For a nutrient that is often called “roughage,” fiber is critically important to us.

Fiber is responsible for cleaning up the gut. There are two types of fiber – Insoluble fiber and soluble fiber- and each type has a purpose.

Insoluble fiber such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and bran, acts like a broom, cleans your digestive tract. (Insoluble fiber aids with rapid gastric emptying, decrease intestinal transit time, increase fecal bulk, thus promoting digestive regularity).

Soluble fiber behaves like a sponge by soaking up waste. This waste is cholesterol and glucose that gets soaked up by fiber and dumped out of the body. Soluble fiber can be found in oats, beans, lentils, vegetables, and some fruits such as citrus fruits and fruits high in pectin. Soluble fiber absorbs cholesterol, decreases liver absorption and increases excretion through bile acids and fecal lipids.

Meat has zero fiber content. Beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and seafood have no fiber. Meat, dairy products, eggs, and oils do not contain any fiber. Processed foods, also known as packaged foods, made with sugar or white flour generally contain very little fiber because it was removed during the manufacturing process.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the fiber content, the longer you will feel full. If you are still hungry after a plant-based meal, ask yourself if it was processed or whole. If your plant-based meal was processed, it likely contains less fiber.

Fiber is critically important every single day and with every meal for our health. However, only 3% of Americans are meeting the RDA for fiber.

Fiber is important every single day and with every meal. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to aim for 30 grams daily as a bare minimum, according to the Institute of Medicine. Most Americans only eat 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. Only 3% of Americans are meeting the recommended daily amount (RDA) for fiber.

Fiber is critical for the human body as it aids your body in absorbing nutrients from food and eliminating toxins. It fills you up and helps you maintain more consistent energy levels. Fiber is needed for healthy digestion, maintaining a healthy weight, preventing cancer and type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, digestive disorders, and autoimmune disease.

Above all else, fiber is only found in whole food, plant-based foods. By having more fiber everyday, we will not only feel more full but also simultaneously improve our health. Good luck!


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