Along with having an adequate water intake, fibre plays a huge role in keeping our digestive system moving and healthy.
Why Fibre Is So Important?
- In 1972, scientists proposed a “dietary fibre hypothesis”, which suggested that common GI diseases like colon cancer, diverticulosis and appendicitis were due, in part, to lack of dietary fiber. It’s not hard to see why:
- Americans consume about 15 grams of fibre per day, on average (17.8 g for males and 13.6 g for females).
- Refined sugars, oils, dairy products and alcohol contain no fibre and comprise 48% of the energy in the average U.S. diet.
- When asked about their dietary fibre consumption, 73% of individuals with a fibre intake below 20 grams/day think the amount of fibre they ingest is “about right.” The Institute of Medicine recommends 19 to 38 grams of fibre per day (varies based on age and gender).
- White flour and white potatoes provide the most fibre to the American diet. This isn’t because these foods contain lots of fibre, it’s because we eat lots of these foods. Legumes only provide about 6% of the fibre in the U.S. diet.
In other words, people eating the modern western diet aren’t getting anywhere near the fibre that they should.
A low-fibre diet is associated with many health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases and high blood fats – fiber helps bind and eliminate blood cholesterol/fat.
- GI disorders, cancers and poor bowel function – fiber helps keep the GI tract clean and can ease constipation and diverticular disease.
- Diabetes – fiber controls blood sugar, insulin and body fat.
- Excess body fat – fiber contributes to satiety and dilutes energy density.
- High blood pressure – see all the above.
A study with over 500,000 people in 10 European countries showed that people who ate more than 30 grams of fiber per day had approximately half the risk of colon cancer as those who ate 12-15 grams of fiber daily.
As recommended at Tribal, if you build your diet around vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, you’re probably getting enough fibre already.
If you want a goal:
- Women should aim for at least 30 to 35 grams of fibre per day.
- Men should aim for at least 40 to 45 grams of fibre per day.
Fibre supplementation is a great option for those that feel they are not achieving the fibre targets above through real food.
When choosing a fibre supplement, it is important to understand some of the differences in the varieties available.
Psyllium Husk Fibre:
- Is a common fiber source used in supplements.
- Is a highly soluble and viscous fiber, which can be very constipating for some people.
Absorbs up to 40 times its weight in water and may dehydrate the colon, perpetuating constipation symptoms.
Fibre sources such as flax, acacia or oats provide a more well-tolerated response for most people:
- Organic flax fiber with additional ingredients for digestive health like glutamine to support intestinal cells, triphala to tone the colon and fennel to reduce gas.
- Organic Triple Fiber Max
100% organic fiber formula providing organic flax, acacia and oat fiber in a pleasant-tasting fiber formula.