Did you know that fibre is a carb? Yes, you heard that right–a carb! The wonderful thing is, unlike other carbs, your body doesn’t easily digest it. So it moves through your digestive system without sending your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride.
Fibre is found in plant foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. All fruits and veggies have fibre, but most of it is found in the skin, seeds, and membranes. That’s why eating a skin-on apple packs more fibre punch than a peeled banana.
There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre can dissolve in water. It then forms a “gel” in your gut, slowing down the sugar party in your bloodstream. Lower sugar levels mean your insulin levels stay low, and that means your body is less likely to begin storing fat.
The other kind of fibre doesn’t dissolve in water, which is why it’s called “insoluble”. Unlike soluble fibres that your body takes its time digesting, this one kind of zooms through your system, cleaning your gut as it moves through. This type of fibre adds bulk to your stool and helps things move smoothly through your digestive journey.
If you’re looking to shed a few kilos or just stay in that healthy weight zone, then you want to add a good blend of soluble and insoluble fibre to your diet. If you’re a woman under 50, your goal should be around 25 grams of fibre per day, while men should aim for 38 grams per day. Because of our modern diet, most people are only getting about half! That means we’re missing out not only on their weight-loss benefits, but their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Now, fibre isn’t some magical fat-burning silver bullet. What it does really well is help with making us feel full. It gives you that satisfied feeling without the need for extra calories in your meal. It’s like you’re not just eating less, but you’re also less likely to hear your stomach growling an hour later.
So, how does fibre wave away those annoying hunger pangs? It takes up space in your stomach, tapping those little receptors that tell your brain, “It’s time to stop eating!” But wait, there’s more. To keep that fibre moving through your system, you have to drink lots of water – around eight glasses a day. Water helps the fibre slide through your digestive system, and helps tackle those hunger pangs too. It’s like a win-win, keeping you full and quenching that thirst that sometimes tricks you into thinking you’re hungry
There are a few cases where certain fibre types might not be your friend. Take fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPS), for instance – these are fibres that some people can be sensitive to. They can cause tummy troubles like bloating and diarrhoea, and they hang out in foods like garlic powder, onions, dairy, and certain fruits and veggies.
So listen to your body when you’re getting cozy with high-fibre foods. Take it slow and steady when you’re getting back into foods like beans, nuts, seeds, and all those colourful fruits and veggies. And hey, if boosting your fibre game is a bit of a struggle, have a heart-to-heart with your healthcare provider.