Fiber is Important ~ [Issue 1199-3]
Nov 16, 1999 19:01 PST
IMPORTANCE OF DIETARY FIBER
The inclusion of adequate amounts of quality fiber in your diet is a
very important component of overall health. Whether your primary
interest is in disease prevention, cardiac health, intestinal
hygiene, proper elimination, or weight control, fiber supplementation
can be very beneficial. Official government and private sector
agencies as well as the major health institutions all agree that our
daily intake of fiber should range from 25 to 35 grams per day for
adults. Yet, most of us eat less than 10 grams!
Soluble and Insoluble
Generally speaking, fiber is not digested or absorbed, as it tends to
be resistant to digestion by intestinal enzymes. Dietary fiber is
categorized as one of two types: "soluble" or "insoluble." It is
estimated that 65 to 75% of dietary fiber in our diet is "insoluble."
The soluble fibers form a gel-like consistency in water and are found
in foods like beans, corn, oats, barley, peas, Brussels sprouts,
lentils, carrots, cabbage, okra, apricots, prunes, dates,
blackberries, cranberries, seeds, apples, bananas, citrus fruits,
psyllium, certain gums and seaweed, to name a few. Insoluble fiber
may be found in bran (the outer covering of corn, oats, rice, wheat),
whole grains (corn, barley, rice, wheat, oats), cereals, edible skins
of fruits and vegetables, celery, brown rice, and some vegetables.
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is generally associated with protecting against colon cancer,
with the suggestion that increasing fiber intake about an additional
13 grams per day could reduce over 30% of colorectal cancer in the
U.S. Some, but not all, published evidence suggests a possible
reduction in the risk of breast cancer when adequate amounts of fiber
are included in the diet. Researchers are evaluating fiberís role
relative to cancers at other sites, including the male prostate.
Dietary fiber may play several roles relative to diabetes, including
potential effects on satiety, obesity and the absorption of certain sugars.
Fiber could play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease owing to
its effect on blood cholesterol levels, especially where initial
levels are high. Some studies have found an inverse relationship
between fiber and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Low-fiber
diets may be associated with development of diverticular diseases in
Studies suggest that soluble fiber may tend to reduce the stomach
emptying time of the foods we eat, which means the food passes
through the stomach much faster. The same is true in our intestinal
tract. It may reduce blood levels of cholesterol, including LDLís -
low density lipoproteins - the "bad" cholesterol in our bloodstream.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, may tend to add bulk to the
stool, and expedite passage through the gastro-intestinal tract.
Fiber can also help you eat less by providing a sense of fullness,
thereby possibly helping in weight management by helping you control
the quantity of food you eat.
It is also believed that soluble fiber may slow digestion and
absorption of carbohydrates, possibly helping to prevent wide swings
in blood sugar levels. This could also be a factor in achieving a
sense of fullness, especially when you consider that fiber may hamper
the absorption of calorie-dense dietary fat, too.
Some Important Claims Backed by Research
- Diets low in fat and rich in fiber-containing grain products may
reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
- Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber,
particularly soluble fiber, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Diets low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables, which may
contain fiber or vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and vitamin C, may
reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Foods with soluble fiber from whole oats may reduce heart disease
risk when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat.
- Labels of breakfast cereal and other foods containing soluble fiber
from psyllium seed husk are permitted to include claims that they may
reduce the risk of coronary heart disease with a diet low in
saturated fat and cholesterol.
Agencies and Organizations
Current United States Government recommendations advocate generous
increases in dietary fiber. These come from a variety of agencies
working cooperatively. They include the United States Food and Drug
Administration, which is concerned with overall health and safety and
the United States Department of Agriculture, which is the creator of
the dietary "Food Pyramid." These agencies are supported by the
National Academy of Sciences under which operate the Institute of
Medicine and its Food and Nutrition Board, which generates the
Recommended Daily Allowances or Daily Values of nutrients. Various
professional societies and advocacy groups such as the American Heart
Association and the American Diabetes Association provide input as
well. Other examples are the American Dietetic Association, the
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the
American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and others.
Needless to say, there has been a lot of interest in this health
supporting substance calle fiber.
If you feel that you are just not getting enough fiber in your diet,
and would like more information on three great nutritional
supplements containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, (plus other
essential nutrients), please see the following:
- COLODYNE - http://www.aomega.com/ahs/c0188b.htm - 100% natural
fiber, herbs, and beneficial micro-flora - great for the digestive system!
- SLENDERLEAN - http://www.aomega.com/ahs/s1207b.htm - High-quality
and sugar free whole grapefruit puree, fiber, and herbs - great for
weight loss and fat binding!
- DAILY BIOBASICS - http:/www.aomega.com/ahs/d5025b.htm - A complete,
powdered mix nutritional support formulation with multivitamins,
minerals, fiber, and more!