1. It fills you up when you are DYING* of hunger… (*umm, not literally. This is hyperbole. Don’t try to feed a starving person fiber and expect them to get better.)
Yep. I’m putting this one first, because it is the most important to me as I am on my weight loss/Keto/Intermittent Fasting path. When we low carbers get hungry, we don’t just just hungry. We get HANGRY. And immediately. Sure, that fat & protein will keep you full for ages, but when it wears off – WATCH OUT.
When my stomach gets to rumbling, which is usually around 11am and oddly, 11pm, I take a tablespoon of psyllium husk powder in 12-16 ounces of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. The ACV has all sorts of its own health benefits, and at this point, I’m also actually so much of a health nut that I enjoy the flavor.
Whatever the case, this concoction keeps me full and the hunger at bay for another 2 – 3 hours. This is a huge boon for those who have issues snacking between meals or eating late at night like I do.
Tip: Keep individual 1 Tbsp portions handy in your car, desk, purse, or pocket. It’s usually never too hard to find a glass or bottle of water if you get a bad case of the hangries.
2. It makes your gut flora happy.
Fiber is a prebiotic. A prebiotic, according to the dictionary, is “a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines”. In layman’s terms, a prebiotic is FOOD for probiotics, which we know are integral to gut health!
3. It helps lower cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is known to block the body’s absorption of cholesterol. The gel-like substance that it becomes in your stomach binds with the bile acids released by your liver and gallbladder into your duodenum, preventing them from being absorbed by the body. Instead, they are released with your bowel movements! Fiber supplementation has been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol by as much as 7% over time!
4. Contipation won’t even be in your vocabulary.
Okay, I can’t make any full-on promises here. There are many causes of constipation, and doctors do often recommend more fiber or “roughage” to make the digestive trip easier. Anecdotally, it works GREAT for me and many Metamucil devotees I have met in my lifetime! Studies do show that often in chronic constipation cases, DECREASING fiber can help. I am not a doctor. Talk to yours if this is an issue for you. But if you’re normally pretty “regular” with an occasional case now and again, supplementing with fiber will add water and weight to your BMs!
5. It has an anti-insulinogenic effect and works to help control blood sugar, too.
Recently, I read Dr. Jason Fung’s “The Obesity Code”, which is a wealth of information about insulin and the ways it effects our bodies. In short, though I recommend you read the entire book, insulin causes weight gain, and insulin resistance (having too much insulin in the blood) causes Type 2 diabetes. Drugs that increase insulin production usually have side effects that include weight gain. While we do need insulin to help convert sugar in our blood into energy in our cells, when we are on a ketogenic or IF plan, we already have steady blood sugar levels. Bringing our insulin levels down helps fight weight gain and insulin resistance.
High fiber appears to cause carbohydrates to be “translocated to a point lower in the intestinal tract where less effect on insulin creation would be absorbed”, effectively lowering the glycemic response to carbohydrate consumption. Less glucose available = less insulin produced = less opportunity for the body to become insulin resistant.
6. Reduces risk of certain cancers.
Fiber can help push everything through your digestive system with more ease. This gives waste, including ingested carcinogens that the body wants to expel, less of an opportunity to adhere to or be absorbed by the intestine. This mechanism has long been touted to decrease the chances for colorectal cancers. Recently, it has been tied to a decrease in the likelihood of breast cancer as fiber binds to estrogen, which has been suggested to be cancer-causing when in excess!
7. Makes certain minerals more bioavailable.
Whether it’s by lowering intestinal pH which can “[enhance]…passive absorption of minerals within the large intestine” or by “increasing the absorptive area” or by “increasing the active transporter pathways” for minerals like Calcium, a high fiber diet can make it easier for your body to get the nutrients it needs.
8. Detoxes your body in a gentle, natural way
Our bodies are incredible and pretty efficient machines. We have all of the parts necessary to run like a dream. But there’s no reason we can’t keep up with our own maintenance by adding a little extra fiber here and there. As mentioned in some of the above points, fiber is like a big ole sponge dragging extra particles of waste through our body faster.
9. Can help you LIVE LONGER!
When you eat a high fiber diet, all of these other pieces taken into consideration, you are less likely to have to deal with a myriad of potentially life-shortening health issues. This amazing article in Health Magazine says it perfectly, citing examples I haven’t even added to this list!