Most of us could use more fibre in our daily diets. There are many benefits to ensuring you are taking in enough of it. Read Dr. Ludovic Brunel’s great explanation of the importance of Dietary Fibre.
Dietary fibre is one of those underutilized nutrients that has clearly established health benefits. Increasing dietary fibre is an effective strategy to regulate bowel function, prevent constipation, reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, treat irritable bowel syndrome, and avoid hypertension and hemorrhoids.[i],[ii],[iii],[iv]
North American diets are poor in terms of their dietary fibre content. The inclusion of an ever increasing amount of refined foods has led to a significant reduction in dietary fibre intake. Most Canadians are getting less than half the fibre they should be getting. The average dietary fibre intake in Canada is roughly 14 grams per day and the recommendation is for people to consume 21 to 38 grams of fibre daily.
Dietary fibre is critically important for digestion. Dietary fibre affects the content in the gastrointestinal tract which leads to important changes that affect digestion. Far too often, patients struggling with poor digestion overlook the importance of fibre for a healthy gut flora and normal absorption.
More fibre also helps to bind to bile acids which promotes the elimination of cholesterol. Fibre also slows down the absorption of sugar and reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Eating more fibre leads to greater feelings of satiety. This makes fibre a valuable tool for the maintenance of a healthy body weight. Studies show that those who consume more fibre are much less likely to become obese.[v]
Of all the dietary supplements available, dietary fibre probably has some of the best research for the prevention of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, as well as colorectal cancer. These conditions have reached endemic proportions in the developed world. Given that very few Canadians getsufficient fibre from their diet, most of us would greatly benefit from supplementation.
[i] McRorie J, Kesler J, Bishop L, et al. Effects of wheat bran and Olestra on objective measures of stool and subjective reports of GI symptoms. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:1244-52.
[ii] Jensen SL, Harling H, Tange G, et al. Maintenance bran therapy for prevention of symptoms after rubber band ligation of third-degree haemorrhoids. Acta Chir Scand 1988;154:395-98.
[iii] Parisi GC, Zilli M, Miani MP, et al. High-fiber diet supplementation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): a multicenter, randomized, open trial comparison between wheat bran diet and partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). Dig Dis Sci 2002;47:1697-704..
[iv] Van Horn L. Fiber, lipids, and coronary heart disease. A statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutr Committee, Am Heart Assn. Circulation 1997;95:2701-4.