Benefits of Fiber & the Production of Healthy Gut Bacteria

Most people understand that fiber is healthy, but don’t quite understand why. Let’s breakdown what fiber is, how it is digested, and what exactly are the benefits of fiber in your diet. 

 

What is Fiber?

Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine. Normally, food begins digestion in the mouth and stomach, and its nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. Fiber is not digested like other carbohydrates. There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.

  • Soluble Fiber: By the name soluble, you can probably tell that that means it can be dissolved in water. These fibers breakdown and slow digestion. Soluble fiber can be found in foods like oats, beans, and seeds.
  • Insoluble Fiber: Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber is not broken down by the water. Instead, insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and allows food to pass more quickly. Adding insoluble fiber to your diet is a great way to reduce constipation on keto. Examples of foods with insoluble fiber include whole grains and wheat bran. 

 

What are Prebiotics and Probiotics?

Probiotics are strains of live bacteria and yeast that can help promote a healthy gut microbiome. Many fibers, specifically soluble fiber, act as prebiotics. Prebiotics are different from probiotics because they aren’t bacteria themselves. Rather, prebiotics help feed healthy gut bacteria once they reach the colon. 

 

What are the Benefits of Fiber?

Fiber can help feed healthy gut bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids like acetate, butyrate, and propionate. Butyrate is an exceptionally beneficial chemical produced by gut bacteria and has been shown to increase energy production, increase fat oxidation, increase satiety, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and decrease blood glucose levels.  (1,2,3)

 

Do You Reap the Benefits of Fiber?

Comment below and let us know how you increase you’re daily fiber intake!

 

References 

1)Cleophas, M., Ratter, J. M., Bekkering, S., Quintin, J., Schraa, K., Stroes, E. S., Netea, M. G., & Joosten, L. (2019). Effects of oral butyrate supplementation on inflammatory potential of circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells in healthy and obese males. Scientific reports, 9(1), 775. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-37246-7

2) Canani, R. B., Costanzo, M. D., Leone, L., Pedata, M., Meli, R., & Calignano, A. (2011). Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World journal of gastroenterology, 17(12), 1519–1528. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v17.i12.1519

3)den Besten, G., van Eunen, K., Groen, A. K., Venema, K., Reijngoud, D. J., & Bakker, B. M. (2013). The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. Journal of lipid research, 54(9), 2325–2340. https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.R036012