Why fibre helps with weight loss & keeps you healthy

We’ve all been told we should have more fibre in our diet, but what exactly is fibre and why do we need it? Firstly, fibre is only found in plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, peas, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, etc. There is no fibre in meat. Otherwise known as roughage, fibre is the part of a plant that is generally considered undigestible.

Fibre falls into two categories; soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is found in wheat bran, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and most fruit and vegetables. Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation as well as acting like a scouring pad for your gut, which can reduce the development of colon cancer.

Soluble fibre is found in oats, legumes (beans & peas, lentils, etc) and some fruit and veg. It helps in lowering blood cholesterol as well as lowering the glycaemic index of foods. Because fibre slows down the digestion process, it lowers the rate at which sugar enters the blood stream, reducing blood sugar spikes, which can reduce the chance of developing type-2 diatbetes.

In addition to this, foods high in fibre, because they take longer to digest and release their nutrients more slowly, can help you to feel fuller for longer, reducing appetite and helping with weight loss. Foods high in fibre, such as wholemeal bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice, also tend to contain higher levels of protein, vitamins & minerals than their processed, white counterparts.

Fibre plays a vital role in gut health, which has knock-on effects for our general health and wellbeing. Some fibre is digestible by bacteria in the gut and the more fibre you eat, from a diverse range of foods, the more different types of bacteria you will have in your gut. This is known as the gut biome and there is increasing evidence that having a varied gut biome is essential for not just health, but mood too.

You may have noticed that your mood improves when you eat more fruit and vegetables, compared to meat and simple carbohydrates – that’s not coincidence. The gut is now being referred to as the body’s second brain and a happy gut, leads to a happy brain,

The recommend daily intake of fibre in the UK is 20-30g. Most people, will unfortunately get nowhere near that. If you’re using a calorie tracking app, like Nutracheck, then you will be able to see your daily fibre intake. I eat a vegetarian diet, but also eat high-fibre foods like wholemeal bread, and whole wheat pasta, so I’m generally able to get more than 30g of fibre a day. If you consume a lot of meat and dairy, prefer white bread and white rice and don’t eat much fruit or veg, then your daily fibre intake is going to be very low, leaving you at risk of colon cancer and type-2 diabetes.

So how do you increase your fibre intake? Switch to whole-grain versions of foods, so wholemeal bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Brown bread is a mix of white & wholemeal flour, it’s not as good as wholemeal, but it’s a bit better than white. Granary, seeded, multigrain & malted breads are essentially white bread, they don’t actually have much fibre in, unless you can find brown or wholemeal versions.

Put some nuts & seeds on your salads, in your yogurt, porridge or cereal. Beans, peas, lentils, etc. all have lots of fibre as do oats, so long as they are not instant oats. Fruit & veg all have fibre, although if you peel potatoes and apples, for instance, you’ve just removed most of the fibre!

Questions or comments? Let us know below.

2 thoughts on “Why fibre helps with weight loss & keeps you healthy”

  1. Pingback: Glycaemic Index – What is it and why is it important? – Revive Fitness Classes

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