By Ryan Abdullah
Have you ever heard of dietary fibers? Could you have ever imagined that not eating enough dietary fibers could cause many diseases including bowel cancer? Well, chances are you never took dietary fibers seriously, or perhaps you even neglected them completely. Trust me, I guarantee you are missing out if you are unaware of the importance of dietary fiber. By the end of this article, I am certain you will understand what dietary fibers are and why they are so important.
What are Dietary Fibers?
Dietary fibers, (also called roughage) are a type of nutritional unit that are recognized as carbohydrates. Dietary fibers have no calories because they cannot be digested or absorbed and tend to be derived from foods especially plants. There are two main types of dietary fibers, water-soluble fibers and water insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers have the capability to dissolve with water and may bring many health benefits such as the reduction of cholesterol in your blood and arteries, the reduction in glucose levels in your blood, the prevention of strokes and heart diseases, the reduction of your hunger levels. Insoluble fibers also have health benefits including: the growth in stool size because water insoluble fibers absorb water, facilitating the passage of stool out of the body, the promotion of peristalsis (muscular contraction and relaxation of the intestines) to improve excretion.
Where are Dietary fibers found?
Soluble fibers can be found in fruits such as bananas and apples, in root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, in oats and barely. Insoluble fibers can be found in cereals, most nuts and seeds, whole meal bread, beans.
Dietary fibers do not have many safety concerns however, as you might have already realized too much of anything is not always good. The increase in dietary fibers should be gradual and not too much should be consumed as this could lead to extreme bowel stimulation causing discomfort and stomach cramps. I recommend taking dietary fibers according to your calorie consumption; the recommended amount is 10 to 13 grams of dietary fiber per 1000 calories.
Advantages of High-fiber diets
Now moving on to the advantages, one of the best advantages high fiber diets give is body fat decline.
Dietary fiber’s molecular structure allows some harmful unwanted dangerous nutrients and molecules to be trapped within the molecular chains of the dietary fiber preventing harm to the body. This “trapping effect” reduces excess fat absorption from foods when eating, preventing the buildup of visceral and stubborn fat.
Dietary fibers also have the ability to slow down protein digestion, causing proteins to be absorbed and used more efficiently in the body thus allowing better muscle growth and recovery after a workout.
Dietary fibers are very useful in the “cutting phase” where fat loss is set as a goal because people feel fuller for longer due to the inflation of their stomach which makes them feel less hungry.
Dietary fibers aid to the production of microflora which are a type of probiotic that aid the digestion of food.
Dietary fibers also increase insulin sensitivity leading to the secretion of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that allows proteins and carbohydrates to be absorbed in the muscles into glycogen; high levels of insulin increase muscle growth.
The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that high fiber diets avert many different kinds of cancers. In addition, researchers based in the USA found that consuming a high fiber diet reduces chances of getting cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease by up to 7%. .
Dietary fibers as you can see are of a key importance and should be taken into account when calculating your macronutrient composition. Some food companies cover up their fat content by adding dietary fibers to their food products therefore I strongly recommend you to research the nutritional value of the food that you buy at your supermarkets.