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Dietary fiber. The forgotten superfood. Here's why

Updated on April 26, 2010

How many people can name types of fibers?

I don't mean soluble and insoluble. I mean specific fibers. If you look at the ingredients of many foods, even nasty ass processed trash, there are a multitude of fibers present in them. This hub will center around different fibers associated with specific benefits.

There are a few benefits that many people know of. Fiber can help keep us regular, as we all know. Fiber does this by forming bulk. Not just any bulk, but soft bulk. Just the same way stool softeners can help alleviate constipation. It's this ability to absorb water that makes fiber useful as a regulator. But, it goes further than that, if you dig into the science. People know these things. I'll move on.

Many fibers have shown significant insulin sensitivity altering properties. This is important for anyone wishing to preserve the health of the pancreas (as this organ can become exhausted- enter type II diabetes). Fibers can improve insulin sensitivity, but not all are created equal.

Increased insoluble dietary fiber intake for 3 days significantly improved whole-body insulin sensitivity. These data suggest a potential mechanism linking cereal fiber intake and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

There are numerous types of dietary fiber. I will address more specific fibers (types with "less than conclusive evidence [as of 03/20/2010]).

Each capsule will be dedicated to a specific mechanism or fiber.

Inulin

Wow, this is an impressive fiber! When you ask most "health nuts" or "stupid Internet gurus" about fiber, they'll spew the same information that you already knew.

This may be new to you.

Inulin really started receiving notoriety around 1995 or so, and peeked in 2005. I mean on a large scale. Some of the benefits that are backed by significant research are: improved calcium absorption (4 grams a day), and probiotic activity, (purported) improved insulin sensitivity,strengthens the immune system, supports a healthy circulatory (blood) system in that it lowers total cholesterol in the blood, lowers low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and lowers triglycerides, while raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL). More evidence is needed to assess some of these benefits. I reluctantly report that some research has shown anticancer activity, but, to the best of my knowledge, this "evidence" is in vitro, not in vivo.

I don't live in a petri dish! Therefore, I know why I consume inulin. Ifit has additional benefits, then I'm getting them.

Chicory is the accepted source of inulin, and where most commercially available inulin comes from. Many yogurt companies have started adding this fiber. Stoneyfield Farms was the first! Now, many companies do so. As you should with anything you chomp on, read the labels!

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    • sassygrrl32 profile image

      sassygrrl32 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Good article. I've just started reading the labels for fiber although don't know a whole lot about it yet. Have always followed fat more.

    • Bendo13 profile image

      Ben Guinter 8 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Yes, he means inulin, that's not a typo! haha..

      It's very important to ensure that you're getting fiber in your daily diet and it's no wonder that some companies now include that exact type of fiber.

      I'm with you, I don't talk up a study until it comes out of the petri dish and is tested on humans!

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