Until very recently fibre has been shuffled under the rug, overshadowed by it’s trendier mates like protein. Finally, fibre might just be becoming the cool kid it was meant to be. But what does fibre do? Fibre is crucial to your diet regardless of age and plays a number of roles in ensuring your body ticks over at it’s best.
In the last few years research has begun to demonstrate its usefulness for weight loss. So, how does it work and why does it work?
The Different Types of Fibre
Fibre is a type of complex carbohydrate. Unlike other nutrients, it doesn’t get broken down or absorbed in your small intestines like normal food. Gross.
If you thought that fibre was just fibre then think again. Fibre comes in a number of forms that each have a slightly different, but important dietary function.
Insoluble Fibre - Insoluble fibre is found primarily in the walls of plant cells and can’t be dissolved in water or be absorbed in the gut. This kind of fibre is found in whole grain foods as well as the skin of fruit, as well as a wide range of green vegetables. Insoluble fibre primarily acts as an ahem ‘bulking agent’ and can help keep you regular.
Soluble Fibre - This fibre can be found in the majority of plants but it is found in higher quantities in foods such as legumes and beans as well as fruits. So, if you are wondering “are oats high in fibre” then yes, they are! This kind of fibre helps the good bacteria in the colon as it provides a food source and this can help to regulate blood sugar levels, which is why high sugar fruits generally have a less adverse effect on blood sugar than sweets or sugar in cakes.
Prebiotic Fibre - This is a form of soluble fibre that we call inulin or fructan. It is found in vegetables such as onions, leeks and garlic as well as fruits such as bananas. There are also certain grains that contain this form of fibre.
See our guide to macronutrients to learn about all of the made nutrient types
How Does Fibre Help You Lose Weight?
There are several ways that fibre can help you to lose weight. First of all, foods that contain more fibre are more filling than those that don’t. Therefore, if you eat foods such as oats and whole grains that are full of fibre, it will take the body longer to digest the food ensuring you feel fuller for longer. Want to keep the snacking hunger pangs at bay? Get more fibre.
Along with this, insoluble fibre, which can’t be digested by the body will pass through the digestive system without being absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that foods are not going to be stored as fat. So, if you have been wondering why is fibre important for athletes, then one of the reasons is the fact that it can help foods to move through the body quickly.
How Can you Get Enough Fibre?
If you want to lose weight then getting enough fibre into your diet is certainly worth it, but how can you do this?
First of all, you should aim to do this through a balanced diet. Therefore, you should be looking to add bread, pasta and whole grains (and oats!) to your diet but make sure you check that the labels say whole grains. Often, manufacturers will use words like grain or multigrain as a way of convincing consumers that it is healthier than it actually is. You can also get natural fibre from fruit and vegetables.
Want a high fibre, oaty snack? Try out Low Sugar Flapjacks
In the same way as the likes of calories or carbohydrates, fibre can also be managed in the same way. Therefore, food labels will inform you of how much fibre is in each product. You should aim to consume around 30 grams of fibre per day in order to give your body the best chance of losing weight.
What About Supplements?
Of course, it’s generally ideal to get all of our your dietary requirements through proper foods, however this isn’t always possible.
If you do feel the need to use a supplement then you need to make sure that you get the right fibre. You should aim to take a supplement that contains fibre in the form of glucomannan as this is a supplementary fibre that can aid weight loss while others might not have the same results.
Fibre is Key
Fibre is a vital nutrient that we should all ensure that we consume. It is good for our health in many ways. However, if you want to increase your weight loss then making sure that you get enough fibre can help to make a difference.