Foods with a High Fiber Content
Foods high in fiber include bananas, apples, broccoli, and whole wheat bread.
Human digestion was not designed to thrive on burgers, but rather on fermentable fibers
When confronted with the vast array of dietary fiber supplements available in pharmacy or grocery store aisles, customers may feel overwhelmed. Furthermore, they make a number of health claims without being required to obtain FDA approval or undergo FDA evaluation. The question then becomes, “How do you choose an effective supplement that is also healthy?”
According to a detailed analysis of the gut microbes of those participants who had taken three different types of supplements in various orders, those who had consumed the least amount of fiber before the study benefited the most from supplements, regardless of the type of supplement they took.According to Lawrence David, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University, “the folks who responded the best had been consuming the least fiber to begin with.”
In addition to the purported benefit of smoother bowel movements, dietary fiber has other advantages. Fermentable fiber is an important source of nutrients for your gut microbes to maintain their health. Fermentable fiber is composed of dietary carbohydrates that can be digested by specific bacteria but not by the human gut.
“We’ve evolved to rely on the nutrients that our microbiomes create for us,” says Zack Holmes, a former Ph.D. student in the David lab and co-author of two new fiber articles. However, due to recent dietary trends away from fiber-rich foods, we have stopped providing our microorganisms with the nutrition they require.
When your gut bacteria consume a fiber-rich diet, they produce more short-chain fatty acids
These acids protect you from gastrointestinal disorders, colorectal cancer, and even obesity. They specifically stimulate the formation of butyrate, a fatty acid that serves as the primary source of fuel for the cells that comprise the intestines themselves. Butyrate has been shown to increase the body’s natural resistance to infections, reduce inflammation, and produce happier and healthier intestinal lining cells.
Because there is such a wide range of dietary supplements now available, the research team led by David was curious whether it would be beneficial to “personalize” fiber supplements for different people. Different fermentable fibers have been shown to have different effects on the formation of short-chain fatty acids, and these effects vary depending on the person.
We found no significant difference when comparing the various fiber supplements we looked at. “Rather, they appeared interchangeable,” David said during a tour of his gleaming new MSRB III lab, which includes a special “science toilet” for collecting samples and an array of eight “artificial gut” fermenters for growing happy gut microbes outside of the body. Fermenters for “science toilets” and “artificial guts” can be found in the MSRB III building.
“It appears that your microbiota will express its gratitude to you by producing more butyrate regardless of which of the test supplements you choose,” David said.The average American adult consumes only 20 to 40% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which is thought to be a root cause of many of our common health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and colon cancer. In other words, the average American adult only consumes 20 to 40% of the daily fiber recommendation. Convenient fiber supplements that can stimulate the production of short-chain fatty acids have been developed, so there is no longer any need to convert to a vegetarian diet or consume pounds of kale daily.
Duke University conducted trials on three types of fermentable fiber supplements: inulin, dextrin (Benefiber), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), which are sold under the brand name Bimuno. After dividing the 28 participants into groups, each of the three supplements was given to each group in a different order for one week. The guts of the participants were given a week off between supplements to allow their systems to recover.
Participants who consumed the most fiber prior to the study had the least change in their microbiomes, and the type of supplement had no effect. According to David, the study’s author, this is likely because they already had a more ideal population of gut bugs.
Participants who consumed the least amount of fiber before taking the supplements, on the other hand, experienced the greatest increase in butyrate. This was true regardless of which supplement was used. They discovered that gut microbes responded within a day to the addition of fiber, dramatically altering the populations of bugs already present in the gut and changing which of their genes were used to digest food. The David lab conducted this second study with funding from the US Office of Naval Research.
Using their artificial gut fermenters, the researchers discovered that the microorganisms in the gut were ready to ingest fiber after the first treatment and quickly digested it after the second dose.
“These findings are encouraging,” said doctoral student Jeffrey Letourneau, the lead author of the second study. [Citation required] If you don’t eat a lot of fiber, it’s probably not worth your time to obsess over the type of fiber you should include in your diet. You must find a solution that meets your requirements in a sustainable manner.
“It doesn’t even have to be a supplement,” Holmes added. It could simply be a high-fiber food. People who already consumed a high amount of fiber, which is derived from plants such as beans, leafy greens, and citrus, had extremely healthy microbiomes.