For decades nutritionists have said that eating more fiber helps you lose weight. And ample research backs that up.
But exactly why eating fiber keeps you thin has been a bit of a mystery.
And guess what?
Like so many other health issues, it all comes back to your gut.
The health of your gut affects everything from your immune system to your moods.
And our poor contemporary diet, full of sugar and processed food, wreaks havoc on the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut, causing good bacteria to decrease while bad bacteria flourishes.
I’ve talked in a previous post about the importance of taking a powerful probiotic to help feed the good bacteria.
But a recent study found that it’s just as important to feed the good bacteria with fiber.
It pretty much comes down to this: the good bacteria in your gut have a favorite food…it’s fiber.
Our digestive enzymes don’t break down the fiber we eat from vegetables and other sources. So the fiber remains intact as it moves through our digestive tract. And as it travels, the healthy microbes in our gut feed off the fiber’s vitamins, nutrients, and short-chain fatty acids.
When we don’t get enough fiber, these microbes starve and then can react in different ways.
Some die off.
Others start eating the gut’s mucus lining. This can make the gut wall become permeable and prone to infection—the nasty condition known as “leaky gut.”
And then our immune system starts getting weak, inflammation can begin, and we become more susceptible to obesity.
Now, the really sad part is that a typical person on the Western diet now gets only about 15 grams of daily fiber. That’s not much compared to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate on a daily basis.
The “daily basis” part of eating fiber is a key here.
Animal studies have found that eating adequate fiber even every other day can reduce the gut mucous layer by 50% compared to getting enough fiber daily.
And researchers have found in humans that the balance of bacteria in the gut can quickly change for the worse as soon you stop getting enough fiber.
So how much is enough?
In general, women should get at least 25-30 grams of fiber daily, while men should get at least 30-38.
And what are the best sources of fiber?
The standard answer you’ll hear is “vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.”
But whole grains have negative effects that cancel out their benefits, such as the presence of phytic acid, which interferes with the absorption of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
So I highly recommend getting your fiber primarily by eating lots of vegetables, along with modest amounts of fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Don’t forget that getting enough fiber can also help you:
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Ward off some types of cancer
- Improve blood cholesterol
- Keep blood pressure in check
So if you want to fit into that little black dress or those skinny jeans and be radiantly healthy as you wear them, eat your fiber!
Keep thinking big and living bold!