The fact that a diet is low carb does not necessarily mean it should also be low in fiber. This is a very common misconception because a properly balanced low carb diet stresses the need of fiber. These fibers are normally obtained from non- starchy vegetables and fruits low in sugar. However, you will find very few of us consuming the correct amount of fiber every day even when in fact we have been consuming carbs! It is very important that you consume the recommended amount of carbs daily.
Do we understand what fiber is?
Fiber is simply the plant food part that our digestive system cannot breakdown. Therefore it goes through the body without being digested because fiber would require a specialized system of digestion. To help us understand the difficulty in digesting fiber we will take a look at a cow consuming grass for example. The cow has several stomachs and chews cud in order to breakdown fiber which is grass for this case. Human beings do not have that kind of digestive system and therefore fiber simply becomes indigestible.
Do we benefit from fiber then?
Of course yes! Fiber is very beneficial to us the most well known benefit of fiber is preventing constipation. Fiber will indeed improve your bowel movements by adding bulk to your stool. However apart from that well known benefit fiber has another benefit which makes it very essential for a low carb diet. Fiber makes sugars and starches have very little effect on blood sugar by slowing down the digestion process. Therefore a high fiber low carb diet will save you from heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2 and herniation disease.
Fiber types for your low carb diet:
The first property of fiber among the three properties that is the common among nutritionists is solubility. This quality that makes it easily dissolved in water. Solubility and insolubility are the most common ways to identify fiber. However, there is also fermentability and viscosity. This simply refers to the ease of fiber fermentation in the colon and the capability of fiber gelling with water respectively. These two properties we will find out are more important than solubility.
When you talk about roughage or fiber mostly you are referring to insoluble fiber. Insoluble is usually tough like most vegetables are ideal insoluble fiber sources. Insoluble fiber makes your bowel movements more regular by accelerating the speed with which the food passes with through your digestive system. It makes one feel full for longer preventing over eating and lowers blood cholesterol.
Soluble fiber on the other hand easily forms a gel as it is viscous and therefore is able to absorb and retain water. This fiber type decelerates the digestion process and allows for efficient nutrient absorption stabilizing blood glucose. Examples include peas, beans, nuts, seeds, apples, flax etc.
Fermentable fiber colon benefit
The fermentable fiber has health benefits especially for the colon. This is because when fiber ferments in the colon it produces certain compounds that have been found out to lower the possibility of lowering cancer of the colon. The fermentable fibers include most of the soluble fibers. Examples include fiber found in oats, apples. Other easily fermentable components include oligofructose and inulin.
Fiber consumption per day: The average recommended fiber consumption for an adult should be in the range of 25 and 40 grams each day. Out of this soluble fiber should be at least in the range of 20% to 30%.