Fibre Intake And Why It’s Important

By on October 20, 2015
Fibre

For myself and many other flexible dieters we have a fibre target each day, along with each macronutrient target.

The trouble is, too many people pay little attention to their fibre and I would put money on most people not eating a sufficient level. Mainly due to people not consuming enough whole foods, like fruit and veg, and too many processed carbs.

Read on to find out why you should be putting in that extra effort to ensure that you get enough fibre in your diet.

What is Fibre for?

The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy. Fibre speeds up the time it takes undigested food to travel through your GI tract. Many people assume that fibre is calorie free because it is indigestible and this is true but whether we count fibre as calories or not is a controversial topic. Fibre is still classified as a carbohydrate and therefore yields 4kcal per 1g. For myself I count them, mainly due to working out my calories from fibre and subtracting it from my calories to ensure I hitting my carb intake correctly would just take up too much time and is an extra stress and worry. So just count them in my opinion.

Fibre also poses the benefit of making you feel fuller. This is due to high-fibre foods having a very low calorie to volume ratio, for example vegetables. You can get a huge volume of food for not that many calories at all. Also very fibrous foods also can take longer to chew, giving your brain time to get the signal that you have had enough to eat.

A 2009 study compared the satiety of apples, apple sauce, and apple juice before lunch. People who ate an apple before lunch ate 15% fewer calories than those who ate the apple sauce or drank apple juice. (1)

I hope you are starting to see that foods high in fibre can be very beneficial and the majority of high fibre foods are also healthy nutrient dense foods. Therefore if you eat more high-fibre foods, your diet will be healthy with out even thinking about it.

What you Should Learn –

1. Most people are not eating a sufficient amount of fibre. Mainly due to people not consuming enough whole foods, like fruit and veg, and too many processed carbs.

2. The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy.

3. There are 2 types; soluble fibre which can be digested by your body where and insoluble fibre which can not. Insoluble fibre passes through your GI track without being broken down and therefore helps to keep other foods moving through.

Types of Fibre

Soluble fibre can be digested by your body where as insoluble fibre can not. Insoluble fibre passes through your GI track without being broken down and therefore helps to keep other foods moving through.

Soluble fibre sources include –

  • Oats
  • Fruit – Such as bananas and apples
  • Root vegetables – Such as carrots and potatoes
  • Golden linseed

Insoluble fibre sources include –

  • Wholemeal bread
  • Bran
  • Cereals
  • Nuts and seeds

So How Much Do I Need?

I will refer to ‘The Strength Guys’ to answer this…

“A practical guideline for dieters would be allowing 10% of your total daily carb intake to come in the form of fibre, with an absolute minimum of 20g. For example, someone eating 400g of carbs per day would have a target of 40g/day while a poor soul eating 100g of carbs per day should still aim to reach the 20g bedrock minimum. It should be realised that while setting quantifiable targets for dieters is important, it should not come at the expense of a disregard for qualitative factors like fibre source and fibre type.”

 

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References:
1. Julie E. Flood-Obbagy and Barbara J. Rolls. The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite. Apr 2009; 52(2): 416–422.
Scott Edmed

About Scott Edmed

I am currently serving the Royal Air Force as a pilot with a huge passion for nutrition and training, having competed in physique competitions and playing rugby and cricket for the RAF.