Dietary Fiber Benefits
How much fiber are you getting?
Today’s standard American diet is a major departure from traditional diets in terms of the fiber content. Recent nutrition reports in the U.S. show an average dietary fiber consumption of only 10 to 15 grams per day. Our standard diet based on refined foods can lead to a heap of digestive trouble – and more. What does it mean to your health? First, fiber can help maintain overall health throughout life. And the benefits go on from there, including better digestion, improved colon health, easier weight maintenance, more regularity and improved blood sugar regulation.
How much fiber is recommended?
A daily fiber consumption of 25 to 40 grams per day is recommended by the Food & Drug Administration, the Food & Nutrition Board of the National Institutes of Health and other leading health authorities. This means that most people will need to double or triple the amount of fiber they are consuming each day. To get an idea what this means, consider that a slice of white bread has about half a gram of fiber, a medium apple has about 2 grams, and a cup of peas has about 5 grams. Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains will help people get closer to the recommended fiber consumption. For many people, adding a fiber supplement daily can help bridge the gap between what they need and what they actually consume.
There were fiber pioneers such as Graham and Kellogg (do these names sound familiar?) in the U.S. in the late 1800’s, but it was Dr. Denis Burkitt in the 1970’s who really brought the concept of fiber intake and health to the attention of the public and medical profession. He hypothesized that the low fiber, refined foods diet he saw in his native England was partly responsible for many of the degenerative diseases that have become so prevalent in our modern era. While doing medical research in Africa, he found that people there who ate a traditional diet high in fiber had a much lower incidence of constipation, diverticula and other health problems than did people eating a refined foods, low fiber diet.
In the United States, the Yerba Prima company pioneered the development of natural dietary fiber products based on the scientific research of Burkitt, Anderson and others. Yerba Prima was the first company to make natural fiber supplements with all five fiber types, and the first with a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber.
What does this mean to me?
Consuming adequate fiber can help with a multitude of health benefits, as described below.
Benefits for heart health
Soluble fiber, such as psyllium husks, oat bran and gums, provide benefits for heart health. Numerous double-blind studies and epidemiological surveys have shown that dietary fiber has normalizing effects on cholesterol and blood lipids, with benefits for heart health. As Kinosian and Eisenberg wrote many years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “A broad public health approach to lowered cholesterol levels by additional dietary modification, such as with soluble fiber, may be preferred to a medically oriented campaign that focuses on drug therapy.” (JAMA, 1988; 259(15):2249-54)
Benefits for colon and digestive health
Dietary fiber supports colon health in numerous ways. The bulking activity of fiber absorbs excess bile acids, speeds transit time through the colon and holds potential toxins in suspension, minimizing the opportunity for harm. Soluble fiber and nutrients like FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) promote the growth of beneficial probiotics that improve digestion of nutrients, acidify the colon, ease elimination and protect the lining of the colon.
Numerous studies have shown that soluble fiber, especially psyllium husk fiber, normalizes the bowel and makes life much easier for people with digestive upset.
Benefits for blood sugar control
Dietary fiber helps to maintain blood sugar levels within the normal range. Many people are concerned with maintaining a healthy blood sugar balance without the up and down spikes in blood sugar that stress the body. Consuming more bulking fiber slows the passage of food through the small intestine, where sugars and carbohydrates are digested. This normalizes digestive function and reduces blood sugar spikes.
Benefits for weight maintenance
Dietary fiber plays an important role in weight maintenance. High fiber foods help promote satiety, or a feeling of fullness. Fiber supplements can also provide this benefit when taken a few minutes before a meal or with food. Because fiber improves the digestion of food and reduces sugar ups and downs, it makes people less likely to feel hungry between meals. Thus, fiber supplements can be a powerful tool for helping people to lose weight or maintain weight.
Benefits for regularity
“Everyone” knows that fiber helps promote regularity and can help reduce the overuse of stimulant laxatives, but not enough people act on that knowledge. Dietary fiber, especially psyllium husk fiber, is a gentle long-term solution for constipation. Easier elimination is one of those little things in life that can make a huge difference in quality of life for both the elderly and the young. Dietary fiber even improves the tone of the muscles that surround the colon and provide the action of peristalsis. Better muscle tone helps people get off the stimulant laxative habit and promotes regularity for a lifetime.
Regularity means not only lack of constipation but also fewer issues with loose stools. Many doctors now recommend psyllium husk fiber for people who have loose stools because psyllium husks act as a bowel normalizer. With regular use, psyllium husks absorb excess water in the colon and help bring bowel movements back to normal.
What can you do?
Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. And a high fiber diet is now accepted as essential for good health. How many people eat a truly balanced, nutritious diet? Not many, which is why millions of people take a multi-vitamin supplement. And how many people get adequate fiber in the foods they eat each day? Very few. This is why so many doctors and nutrition researchers recommend that people eat more high fiber foods and take a daily fiber supplement to help promote and maintain good health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.