Role of Fiber in Metabolic and Gut Health


Role of Fiber in Metabolic and Gut Health


The human diet has changed dramatically over the last few hundred years, which helps to explain the enormous disparity in the frequency of chronic metabolic disease between industrialized and developing countries. The energy-dense, high-glycemic-load foods that are a hallmark of the Western diet have filled the void left by lower fiber consumption. Our ancestors are considered to have consumed 100 g of fiber per day. In comparison, people from non-industrialized countries consume up to 50 g per day, while those from industrialized Western countries consume only 12-18 g per day. This significant discrepancy in habitual fiber intake, in addition to the Western diet’s high protein and fat content, is linked to the variation in gut microbiota composition and richness observed between developed and developing countries, as described in multiple research.

Furthermore, when the microbiomes of individuals from different industrialized countries are compared, there is little difference in structure and composition, whereas vegan and vegetarian individuals from these societies have a gut microbiome more closely resembling that of non-industrialized populations with a high habitual dietary fiber intake and a low prevalence of associated metabolic disease. Current dietary fiber recommendations range from 30 to 35 g per day for men and 25 to 32 g per day for women. Western societies are in decline. Western cultures continue to ignore these recommendations, and inadequate fiber consumption remains a serious public health concern. In fact, even today’s recommended daily fiber consumption is substantially lower than what our forefathers consumed. There is strong evidence that diet-microbiome interactions are critical to dietary fiber’s potential to improve the metabolic health of people suffering from obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other chronic gut disorders.

What exactly is fiber? 

Fiber is composed of indigestible parts of plants or substances that pass mostly unaltered through our stomach and intestines. Fiber is primarily composed of carbohydrates. The primary function of fiber is to keep the digestive system healthy. While most carbohydrates are converted down into sugar molecules called glucose, fiber cannot be broken down and hence goes through the body undigested. Fiber regulates the body’s usage of glucose, which helps to control appetite and blood sugar levels. A high fiber diet has been linked to a lower risk of various health issues, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain malignancies, according to study. It is also essential for maintaining the healthy gut.

 What amount of fiber do you require, and can you have too much?

The Indian Council of Medical Research considers a level of roughly 40g of fiber/2000 Kcal in a diet to be relatively safe based on energy intake. Intakes of more than 60 g of fiber per day can impair nutrient absorption and induce intestinal discomfort in addition to diarrhea. It has been hypothesized that eating more fiber than the average person can help lessen the risk of certain diseases. Some people may have constipation or diarrhea if they consume too much fiber too rapidly. It is critical to gradually incorporate fiber into your diet and to drink plenty of fluids. All bran cereals, lentils, flax seeds, chickpeas, dried figs, kidney beans, green peas, spinach, and pears are examples of high-fiber foods. Soybeans, carrots, wheat germ, apples, popcorn, baked potatoes, almonds, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, and corn are examples of foods that provide 2-4 grams of fiber per serving.

Fiber comes in two kinds, both of which are good to one’s health:

Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help decrease blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can aid in the movement of food through your digestive system, improving regularity and preventing constipation. It is critical to consume a range of fiber-rich meals. This guarantees that a person gets a variety of nutrients in addition to fiber.

 Insoluble fiber appears to help foods flow more quickly through the stomach and intestines while also adding bulk to the stool. It can be found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is essential for a balanced diet and can help with weight management. Natural fiber is usually easier for the body to digest than fiber-fortified foods. As a result, whole grains and fresh fruits are frequently more beneficial than high-fiber pills or energy bars.


Why is fiber crucial for metabolism?

Short-chain fatty acid generation by the microbiota is encouraged by fiber, which can enhance metabolic health. Due in part to the fact that fiber slows down how quickly food is absorbed in the stomach, fiber also seems to lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Your body uses the metabolic process to turn food into energy. Your body needs energy to carry out essential tasks like breathing, and maintaining hormone levels, and blood circulation even when at rest. Basal metabolic rate, or BMR, refers to the number of calories your body consumes to carry out these tasks. As our BMR accounts for 60 to 75 percent of your daily caloric needs. Age, gender, as well as body size and composition, all affect BMR. Exercise and food preparation also affect how many calories you burn.


What function does fiber have in the intestinal microbiome?

Short-chain fatty acids are created when the bacterial communities that make up your microbiome break down fiber, protecting you from disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, colorectal malignancies, and even obesity. They produce more butyrate, a fatty acid that serves as fuel for the intestinal cells themselves.


Numerous health advantages are linked to a diet that contains a good amount of fiber, these consist of:

-lower risk of colorectal cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity

-Blood pressure reduction

-Reduced cholesterol

-Better digestive health aids in weight control.

-Improved bowel regularity


In conclusion, research indicates that increasing dietary fiber intake can improve metabolic health by modifying the gut flora. Only a few species those are able to adapt to an environmental shift in the ecosystem, as they are enzymatically equipped to carry out fermentation, may be enhanced by dietary fiber, which may have an impact on the composition and function of the gut microbiota.

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