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Sneakz on Fiber

Sneakz on Fiber

When developing a product, especially a nutritional product, you first try to get a view of what you are trying to do from 20,000 feet and ask some questions to yourself. What do I need more of in my diet? What are other companies doing poorly that we can do better?  Why doesn’t this product have this, or why does it have so much of that? How do you repair relations with the crows in your yard? While this is one of the exciting and rewarding times as part of a small company it can lead to frustration.  Not only frustration about what you can and can’t do or put into your product do to technological or economic limitations (and there are tons), but frustration with people and the state of an average diet.  

One of the most important but neglected vitamins and minerals we consume every day is fiber. Fiber is found in most whole foods, especially in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that unlike other carbohydrates, your body cannot digest.  As other carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber passes through the body undigested.  Unfortunately, due to the sad state of the standard American diet, most people do not get their daily recommended amount of fiber. Actually, more than most! Only 5% of Americans reach the daily recommended amount of fiber! Most Americans only get 15 grams of fiber each day, which is close to half of the daily recommended 30 grams of fiber.  The sad thing is fiber is one the few nutrients that has peer-reviewed study after peer reviewed study showing the effectiveness of fiber intake treating several diseases, conditions, and health problems. 

To help get you familiar with fiber, there are 2 types.  Insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material.  This is the type of fiber you usually would see in supplements such as Metamucil or that Is found in whole food sources such as vegetables, legumes, and fruits like apples oranges and grapefruits.  Soluble fiber is great, as the gel-like substance that soluble fiber forms, can stop your body from digesting or taking in certain fats and sugars that would be absorbed without the fiber.  

Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system so it can help with many digestion problems.  Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and causes bulking to absorb water in your digestive tract to promote regularity. Insoluble fiber can be found in many whole foods some examples of some foods high insoluble fiber are but not limited to whole-wheat bread, nuts, beans, and vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  

Fiber has been shown to fight heart disease.  A Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals and researchers found that high dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease.  A Harvard study of female nurses found similar results.  Diets high in fiber have also been shown to decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.  One of the reasons this might be is soluble fibers' unique ability to slow and stop absorption leading to lower insulin peaks after meals and increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.

Fiber can also help with Diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestine, one of the most common age-related disorders of the colon in Western society. Among male health professionals in a long-term follow-up study, eating dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, was associated with about a 40 percent lower risk of diverticular disease.   

Fiber is also necessary for a healthy gut biome! Fiber is the fuel that helps promote the growth of “good” gut bacteria that can positive effects on your health. The friendly bacteria produce nutrients for the body, including short-chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate and butyrate, of which butyrate appears to be the most important. These short-chain fatty acids can feed the cells in the colon, leading to reduced gut inflammation and improvements in digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Two other benefits of fiber are increased immune support and weight management.  Some specific fermentable types of fibers have been shown to provide support for healthy immune function. Two mechanisms contribute to this benefit: increased levels of beneficial bacteria (i.e., Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus) and reduced adhesion of pathogens to the cell walls on your gut, which aids in flushing them from the digestive tract.  Also, recent research has shown that infant formula fortified with prebiotic oligosaccharides can help improve immune function. Being able to establish a healthy balance of microbiota early in life may contribute to long-term health outcomes, because early colonizing microbiota have stronger adhesion and persistence within the intestinal tract than prebiotic bacteria consumed later in life. And an extra bonus is both types of fiber help contribute to weight management!  Meals high in Insoluble and soluble fiber both help you feel full quicker and longer then low fiber meals enabling you to eat less and feel full longer enabling you to quit snacking in between meals!