Ever since we were small we were taught by our parents and teachers to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. They have certainly made their point. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber, an indigestible portion of plants with various health benefits.
Dietary fiber is classified into two types: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber type is the one that is easily digested by the gut. Through the process of fermentation in the colon, it is changed into gases and other by-products that can slow down the digestive process of the gut. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water but can be a bulking material for the gut. It can absorb water in the intestines, thus permitting easy movement of the bowels and easy defecation. They increase movement of digested food within the digestive system.
Fiber is made up of components such as cellulose, starch, dextrins, pectins, inulins, waxes, beta-glucans and other polysaccharides. Food containing fiber is often determined as to whether they contain soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. The consumption of either fiber is beneficial to our health since it enables the body to produce healthy compounds that can help in the digestion of food and in the movement of bowels.
Benefits of Consuming Fiber
Consuming fiber has a lot of benefits. Eating fiber-rich foods can promote regular bowel movements. It can soften stools and make it easier for you to eliminate them. Fiber also promotes good bowel health because it prevents colon-related diseases such as hemorrhoids, colon cancers and colitis. A fiber-rich diet can also lower your cholesterol levels and can help you lose weight and keep it off. It can also help lower elevated blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates in the gut. Consuming fiber makes you avoid sugar spikes that are responsible for uncontrolled diabetes.
Fiber, Obesity and Diabetes
A recent study made by a French-Swedish team of researchers from CNRS, Inserm and the UniversitÃ© Claude Bernard Lyon have found out that consuming fiber can actually make people lose weight and protects against diabetes. They speculated that this may be due to the fact that fiber promotes the growth of normal intestinal flora and regulates glucose metabolism during meals. The results of this team were published in the journal Cell on 9 January 2014. The researchers believed that the intestine and the organisms that live in it are responsible for glucose metabolism in the body. For blood sugar levels to be maintained within normal limits, the intestine and its flora should be kept healthy, and fiber promotes gut health.
The researchers acknowledged that fiber exerts its benefits in the gut through the process of fermentation, since it cannot be directly digested by the intestines. The process of fermentation is carried out by bacteria in the intestines. These bacteria transform ingested fiber into short chain fatty acids that can be used by our bodies for a lot of important processes. Examples of these fatty acids include butyrate and propionate. Aside from maintaining gut health, consuming fiber can also burns fat and makes us lose weight.
The researchers fed rats and mice either with fermentable fibers or with short chain fatty acids butyrate and propionate. They observed that these animals became less fat than the animals which were fed a normal diet. The rats and mice were also protected against diabetes because their bodies were made more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Thus the researchers acknowledged that the weight loss and fat burning effects of fiber were due to its being fermented into short chain fatty acids such as propionate and butyrate. Fiber also provides the intestines with raw materials for glucose production.
So start consuming a fiber-rich diet now if you want to lose unwanted fat and keep it off. You can also check out this site for other articles on how to lose weight and eat healthy.