Home / Coaches Blog / Can I Ask You Something / Hey Can I Ask You Something: Fiber

Let’s talk gut health. Let’s talk about fiber. Fiber keeps you regular, keeps your gut healthy by
keeping your intestines clear. Your gut health is impacted by the types of food you eat. If you
don’t eat fiber, well then your gut health is probably not the greatest. Research now shows that
a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.
Fiber is dietary material that is not digestible. Most carbs are broken down into sugar
molecules, fiber is what is left behind. There are 2 types of fiber; soluble and insoluble. Soluble
fiber is water soluble meaning they attract water and turn into a gel during digestion. These
polysaccharides enhance your bowel health by fermenting in your small intestine with your
microflora that are already present. Some examples of soluble fiber are oats, nuts, seeds, some
fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. These foods help us feel more full and keeps our
bowels moving. They also add bulk to our stool which helps the transmit time. In and out, the
quicker it’s out the better. So insoluble fiber also helps with constipation.
There was recently an experiment performed on mice and rats who were fed a diet of
fermentable fiber which was enriched with short chained fatty acids. These fatty acids are the
microflora that are already present in our gut. Another group of mice were fed sugary, fatty food
supplemented with fiber, think Metamucil. And finally the third group was fed just a diet of
sugary, fatty food. Researchers found that the group of mice and rats that were fed the diet
with fermented fiber gained less weight and developed diabetes at a slower pace. So our
overall gut health works hand in hand with fiber to control obesity and glucose levels.
Think helpful bacteria. Most people know by now that we all have bacteria in our bodies, on
our bodies. We need the good bacteria. These good microbes line the walls of our intestines.
Research shows that when these microbes do not have the natural fiber they rely on for food,
they turn on the environment they are living in. Survival. They start munching on the walls of
the intestines, this leaves the walls open to the invasion of the bad bacteria.
A recent article in The NY Times showed that a group of microbiologists are now studying a
tribe of people in Tanzania called the Hadza. The people are unique in that they are still
hunters and gatherers, they only eat what they kill and catch. Microbiologists have found their
gut bacteria fluctuate with the seasons. They were tested in the dry season and wet season
and then compared to an Italian group of people who eat a Western diet. Some microbes
disappeared and returned depending on the seasons. The comparison with people who ate a
Western diet showed no fluctuations in gut bacteria and they even lacked microbes that were
present in the Hadza people.
In conclusion, eat your fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of clean foods to keep your gut
bacteria strong and healthy.
-Ana Liston, PN-1

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