We all know (well, most of us I hope), that there are 3 types of macros nutrients. These being: Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates. We do our best to hit these three macro nutrients everyday. HOORAH HOORAH! In my opinion though, and I am sure in many others as well, there is a 4th macro nutrient. This being FIBER! Fiber is of UBER importance to our bodies for a number of reasons! In this post, I hope to inform you guys on this crucial macro nutrient and possibly aid you in deciding what goes into your next dish!
So Fiber, everyone says you need it. No one says why. Some say you need 12-24 grams of it a day (according to the British Nutrition Foundation). Others, like the United States National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine say you need to ingest 20-35 grams of fiber a day.
Too much leads to bloating, cramps, and gas (just what you want when you’re headed to the gym); too little backs you up for days. In truth, the average American consumes less than 50% of the dietary fiber levels for good health. 😦
So now there are two types of fiber that come into play: those that don’t dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). First, insoluble fiber. This is the stuff that makes you “go”. (Sorry for the bluntness!) If you’re dealing with constipation or do not have regular bowel movements, this is the type of fiber you’re looking for! While that may seem like the most important type of fiber to consume, don’t forget the other, just-as-important-type of fiber, soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Now that you know about the two types of fiber, let’s explore what happens when you eat it! It all starts with breakfast. Call it a moment of weakness, but let’s say you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, chocked full of refined carbohydrates.
Because these carbs are fast-digesting, they are quickly absorbed by the body – increasing the amount of sugar headed towards your liver. As your glucose levels (blood sugar) increase, it calls in an order of extra insulin from your pancreas.
Insulin is the “traffic cop” in your system that directs where the energy from the carbs should be directed.
Trouble is, after its been produced, insulin stays in your body for 5 hours! If you eat breakfast at 8am, then at lunch just 4 hours later you have a piece of cake… that sugar heads back towards your liver, creating another insulin spike. The pancreas then sends out more insulin, spiking it higher after each meal.
And what happens when you’ve got too much insulin in your system? Insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity (increased fat storage). Since insulin prevents the sugar from being absorbed by your cells (because you have too much of it in you), it turns into fat.
Foods rich in fiber practice the ‘buddy system’ and will break down more slowly in your system, not giving you the insulin spike we spoke of earlier. Because they’re absorbed gradually, your body can better process them (and you feel fuller longer to boot!)
Not only will fiber keep you fuller longer, but it also has a handful of other benefits as well! Benefits such as: Lower Risk Of Heart Disease, Decreased Risk For Type 2 Diabetes, Lower Risk Of Diverticular Disease, and ofcourse the obviously on…Going More Often!!
Personally, I normally intake about 40 Grams of fiber a day. I achieve this through foods like beans (black, red, pinto) fiber one cereal, oatmeal, and veggies. I’d say anywhere past 60 Grams of fiber a day and your body is actually going to experience a really tough time trying to digest the other macro nutrients being distributed from the foods you eat. Just my take though.
I hope this article helped! Please feel free to reply to this with any questions you may have!
CHASING THE TOP!