Fiber is not easily digested by your body, but as it passes through you, it provides many benefits. In this blog post, I explain 5 ways fiber boosts your low-carb diet results.
Benefits of Fiber on a Low Carb Diet Summary
- Fiber slows digestion, allowing more nutrients to get extracted from the food you eat.
- It keeps you feeling full longer, due to the slow digestion.
- Fiber slows the absorption of sugar, keeping the fat-storing hormone, insulin, low.
- Fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome, which promotes fat loss.
- It adds bulk to stool, aiding in relief from constipation.
5 Ways Fiber Boosts Your Low-Carb Diet Results [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The difference between soluble and insoluble fiber!
- Five ways that fiber can boost your diet results.
- How many grams of fiber you should be eating everyday.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Fiber is a unique nutrient because it is hard to digest thanks to the fact that we lack the enzymes needed to break it down.
Fiber is typically categorized as soluble or insoluble. You want both types in your diet. Fortunately, most whole plant foods contain a combination of the two.
For instance, dark leafy greens, avocados, and most nuts and seeds provide you with a good dose of insoluble fiber, but they also contain the soluble form. Whereas onions and organic psyllium husk are higher in soluble fiber yet still contain some of the other type.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber have benefits. Let’s go over them starting with the benefits mostly attributed to soluble fiber.
#1: Fiber Slows Digestion
As soluble fiber moves through you, it combines with water and digestive juices to form a gel-like substance. This gel slows digestion giving your digestive tract more time to extract nutrients from the foods you eat. That means you have a better chance of absorbing the vitamins and minerals that support your metabolism.
#2: Fiber Keeps Hunger Away
Because soluble fiber keeps the food in your system longer, it takes longer for you to get hungry after a meal. This hunger satisfaction helps you avoid unnecessary snacking.
#3: Fiber Slows the Absorption of Sugar
Soluble fiber also helps slow the absorption of sugar. With this slowed absorption, your body needs less insulin to handle the carbs you eat.
If you’re following a low carb diet, you know that insulin is your fat-storing hormone, so the lower you keep insulin, the more opportunity there is for your body to burn fat.
#4: Fiber Feeds the Gut Bacteria
Fiber is also good for your gut microbiome. Because fiber resists digestion, it can make its way down to your colon where it feeds the good bacteria that live there.
We sometimes refer to fibrous foods as prebiotics because the job of a prebiotic is to fertilize or feed the good bacteria in your gut.
We are still learning a lot about how the health of your gut microbiome affects your weight, but there was an interesting study done just last year that looked at how adding fiber to the diet of obese children changed their gut bacteria profile and promoted fat loss.
The obese children, who were between the ages of seven and 12, were split into two groups. One group was fed a specific fiber supplement related to inulin, which is a form of fiber we get from garlic, onions, and asparagus. The other group was given a placebo.
The researchers wanted to isolate how the fiber was affecting the kids, so they did not change anything else about their diets. They just let them eat like kids eat. After 16 weeks, the children that consumed the fiber supplement showed positive changes to their gut bacteria profile compared to the placebo group. The fiber kids also had a decrease in body fat and belly fat whereas the children who took the placebo were more likely to gain weight (1).
As research in this area continues, we will see more evidence that the health of your gut microbiome is related to your ability to lose weight. Fiber will likely play an important role in supporting that relationship.
#5: Fiber adds Bulk to Stool
As insoluble fiber moves through your digestive tract it adds bulk to your stool. Constipation is a problem for some people when they switch to a low-carb diet. This condition may be because they are either not staying hydrated with water and electrolytes or they are not getting enough fiber. By increasing your insoluble fiber intake and staying hydrated, you avoid constipation.
You don’t want to overlook fiber when you go on a low-carb diet. For healthy weight loss, you want to strive for at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
That level can be challenging to hit when you cut carbs. When you follow my 0-1-2-3 Strategy, you learn how to get started by adding a sufficient amount of non-starchy vegetables to your diet.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Nicolucci, Alissa C., et al. “Prebiotics reduce body fat and alter intestinal microbiota in children who are overweight or with obesity.” Gastroenterology 153.3 (2017): 711-722.
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.