What do you consider the BEST supplement? Is there even such a thing? Perhaps you thought of a mulit-vitamin, creatine monohydrate, branched chain amino acids, fish-oil, or something else. While these are all extremely important components of a healthy diet, they may not be a necessary supplement for everyone. Question: How would you feel if I told you there is an all-natural supplement that has been scientifically shown to reduce levels of blood cholesterol, decrease and stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, aid in the removal of cancer-causing agents, and reduce the risk of infections, respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer?
Well, it is not very glamorous, so it does not get very much attention, but fiber does all the previously mentioned things! Everyone can benefit from fiber!!!
One of my nutrition mentors called fiber the best supplement for weight loss. He claimed it was due to the effects that fiber has on the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone that signals the brain and says: “I’m hungry! Feed me!!” Due to fiber’s effects of slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, fiber decreases the amount and timing of ghrelin secretion, and reduces the “I’m HUNGRY!” signal that the stomach sends to the brain. Fiber also works to promote the secretion of other digestive and metabolic hormones that tell your brain you are full. So from this perspective, fiber is excellent for fat loss because it allows for much more control over cravings, hunger, and fullness.
Fiber is not only beneficial for fat loss, though. Let’s say you just want to get the most out of your diet. Fiber works to improve nutrient absorption by slowing the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract. So much of what we eat may be going to waste simply because our digestive system is not in the state to effectively pull all the nutrients the food contains. And not to be crass, but sometimes we just need to flush the system of stuff that builds up in there. It is not pleasant, but it may be necessary, especially for those who stick to certain dietary trends that do not include a variety of high fiber foods.
Along those lines, here’s the issue. Dietary protein and fat are a solid foundation for body composition changes and fat loss, but neither contains much, if any, fiber. So, where do you get it? Well, if you are like the average American who only gets 4-11 grams of fiber per day, you can increase your veggie and legume intake so you are getting some fiber at every meal and snack, or you can look into a fiber supplement to add into your diet. Fiber supplements made from plant cellulose or psyllium husks are a great place to start, and are usually very cheap. Increasing your total dietary fiber to 40 grams or more will work wonders for fat loss, improving digestive function, and improving almost every other marker of health. So grab some celery and chomp away!