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  • Michael Keane

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Fiber in our Diets



Basically stated a fiber is a thread of filament from which a vegetable tissue, mineral substance, or textile is formed. Of this definition we are really only concerned with vegetables and some minerals. Please do not read this blog and think its okay to go out and eat t-shirts to consider it you dietary fiber. As we are more concerned with the dietary material containing substances such as cellulose, lignin, and pectin, which are resistant to the action of digestive enzymes. (FYI, I looked up these definitions using a dictionary search on Google.)


I am going to start off with The Ugly. This article is going to discuss the digestive system and poop, which will be referred to as stool.


The Bad, or the boring part. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. One can be dissolved in water, soluble, the other cannot, insoluble. Soluble fibers aid in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fibers aid in moving materials through your digestive tract. Soluble fiber acts like a gel-like material while insoluble fibers increase stool bulk for collecting and moving things along the tract. Soluble fibers are found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley. Insoluble fibers are found in whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, beans, nuts, and vegetables, like broccoli, green beans and potatoes. Of course, I am telling you all of this while eating a broccoli salad since it's currently unhealthy to eat romaine lettuce.


The Good, or the benefits of a high-fiber diet. First off, soluble fibers help lower cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoproteins in your body. If you are diabetic then certain soluble fibers can slow the absorption of sugar and help control blood sugar levels. Fiber can normalize your bowel movements by increasing the density and proportions of your stool while also aiding in lubrication for easier passing of the stool. If your constipated, fiber will help you pass the stool. If your stool is loose and watery, then fiber will help firm it up. Fiber can aid in preventing diseases or cancer of the colon along with reducing the chances of hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

Then, of course, fiber is associated with reducing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancers.


Now for you daily recommendation for adults brought to you by the Institute of Medicine. If you are a Male age 50 or younger you should have a fiber intake of about 38 grams a day. If you are a Male age 51 or older, then just 30 grams a day. If you are Female age 50 or younger you should be having 25 grams a day. And, if you are a Female age 51 and older then you should be having about 21 grams a day.


Please, go out and make your gut happy and eat a healthy amount of fiber. Best results come from a healthy mixing or various choice selection of fiber, since each have different benefits. As a reminder, clothing is not a healthy choice of fibers to eat!

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