When we discuss nutrition the first thing that gets the most attention
are the BIG 3 (protein, carbs, and fats).
One of the most overlooked nutrition aspects by fitness coaches is the importance
of fiber and the key it plays in the body.
I know what your thinking…How does fiber help me?
Well for starters it has great effects on helping you perform better, lose fat quicker and helps you recover faster from those workouts. All of these things can only mean one thing, a better potential for growth and development. Who doesn’t want to lose fat and feel better overall?!?
Blood Sugar Control (Insulin Management) And All That Jazz
When it comes to fiber there are a few take home points that I want to stress.
With the introduction of fiber in your diet you can slow the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. This will allow your body to better control the insulin spike derived from the flux of simple sugars in the bloodstream. You know that feeling you get after an hour or so of stuffing your face full of carbs? The, “I need a nap ASAP!” effect. This is because your body has spiked in insulin and now is coming down off your sugar surge. Fiber can slow this effect down and allow your body to utilize the carbs over a longer period of time, thus not allowing you to fall asleep in the middle of the day.
The whole point of insulin is to lower blood sugar. The problem is when your blood sugar spikes due to an over abundance of carbs, insulin can lower your blood sugar too low and cause you to become drowsy. Yes, naps are good, but not when you are in the middle of working!
Fiber has the uncanny ability to help move food through your digestive track and prevent constipation (Ya know lets you POOP!). There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
Lets tackle soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can inhibit your body from absorption of the big 3: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. When soluble fiber is digested into the body, it makes a gel like substance when mixed with stomach fluid. This fluid helps prevent increasing digestion of simple carbs (sugars) and also bypasses small amounts of macros with it into a waste product. In-turn, this will help from receiving that HUGE influx of insulin in the first place. That means no post food nap sessions. Insoluble fiber does have its benefits but they are not as pronounced as soluble fiber. Just make sure you are getting a mixture of both.
Naturally, if you are getting fiber from the right sources, some fruits and vegetables, then you will be reaping the benefits of antioxidants that will aid in boosting your immune system. Having a well oiled immune system means you can go into the gym and kick a** without your rate of exertion dwindling over time. The last thing anyone needs is not being able to recover adequately after an intense training session.
How much fiber should I have?
One of the best ways I like to count fiber is by the amount of calories you are getting in a day. For example, if you are suppose to get in 3000 calories a day, then your fibers should be set around 30g of fiber a day. If you are suppose to get in 2000 calories a day, then aim for 20g of fiber. Now these ranges can depend on the individual. Things like gut health, weight, body function and diet also play a into this.
Whatever your specific case may be, MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING YOUR FIBER!