Fiber – The Nutrient Deficiency Most Of Us Don't Know About
We're all trying to live a healthier life and do what we can to take care of our body and mind. But what if you're missing out on getting the RIGHT AMOUNT of a CRITICAL nutrient. One that is shown to help you reduce your risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. One that most people like you are deficient in, EVEN THOUGH you think you're getting enough!
Despite knowing we all need more fiber, the cold hard fact is this - 95% of adults and children are not consuming the recommended amount.¹ For years, scientists have been telling us that we are "Fiber Deficient"², and we need to close this "Fiber Gap."
The United States National Academy of Medicine and Health Canada both recommend 25 g and 38 g of fiber per day for women and men respectively. But the unfortunate truth is that the average intake in both countries is only 15 g/day – approximately half of what is recommended.² And those on a low-carb diet consume even less - only 10g/day.³ Leading nutrition researchers and educators state that today's inadequate fiber intake is "A Public Health Concern for All…".⁴ World-renowned doctor and international best-selling author, Denis Burkitt, championed high fiber diets and advocated for no less than 50 grams of fiber per day.² If you think 50g a day is a lot, try this on for size: evidence suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed as much as 100 g of fiber per day – a far cry from the 15 g we consume now.⁵
Your Better Health, Made Simple
If all you did was get your daily fiber (25-38g) you'd be on the path to better health immediately. Researchers reviewed 17 studies that included just over 980,000 participants.⁶ Over the course of the study period, people who consumed the most fiber were 19% less likely to die than those who consumed the least. Heart disease, stroke, and cancer are the leading causes of death globally.⁷ For every 10 g increase in fiber consumption, there was a 10% decrease in the risk of dying from any cause cited.⁶ For every 7 g increase in fiber intake per day, cardiovascular disease risk decreased by 9% and stroke by 7%. For every 10 g increase in fiber per day, the risk of breast, colorectal, and stomach cancers decreased 5%, 10% and 44%, respectively. It's remarkable to think that even a relatively small increase in daily fiber intake can have such a profound effect.
What Is Dietary Fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate from plants that humans can't digest nor absorb. Although most carbohydrates get digested and turned into sugar molecules, fiber does not and goes through the gut undigested. Although we can't use fiber directly, probiotics that live in our gut use it as a food source (aka prebiotic fiber).
There are 2 types of fiber that are the most commonly recognized:
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is best known for its cholesterol-lowering properties, ability to balance blood sugar levels and prebiotic activity.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is best known for adding bulk to your stool and helping you stay regular.
Most carbohydrates deliver 4 calories per gram, whereas fiber has 0-2 calories per gram. Why a range of 0 to 2? It's the soluble fiber in particular that provides those few calories, and insoluble fiber does not. Probiotics use the soluble fiber as a food source and then break down some of the stored caloric energy in fiber that we can then absorb – once again up to a max of 2 calories/g – and no net carbs (if you’re counting carbs).
The Benefits of Fiber
Best recognized for its ability to help you stay regular and help with constipation, it also has many other studied benefits.
Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of:¹﹐⁸
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Certain Cancers
- High Blood Pressure
- Certain Gastrointestinal Disorders (IBS & IBD)
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Moderates Appetite
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar
More recently, fiber has also been shown to:
- Support Immunity⁹
- Support Longevity⁶﹐¹⁰
- Support Detoxification (binds to toxins in the gastrointestinal tract for transport out of your body)¹¹
- Maintain Intestinal Barrier Function (reduces the risk of so-called leaky-gut)¹²
- Support The Health Of Athletes¹³
- Reduce Lung Inflammation & Asthma¹⁴
- Reduce The Risk Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)¹¹
- Improve Brain Health¹⁰
Not All Fibers Are Created Equal
Many consumers looking for a convenient way to increase their fiber intake have turned to processed fiber supplements. These often contain only one form of fiber, either soluble or insoluble fiber. ONE fiber type alone, cannot give you ALL of fiber's benefits.
Those fiber supplements are more accurately known as "Functional Fibers" and differ from the unprocessed "Dietary Fibers" you would find in whole-foods. Many of these isolated functional fibers are often sold as supplements or added to processed foods. These include soluble corn fiber, polydextrose, dextrin, resistant maltodextrin, guar gum.
For optimal gut health, whole-food sourced fiber is a must FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES. For best results, one should consider fiber PLUS the added benefits from probiotics and healthy fats. All three support the gut in important but different ways!
ULTIMATE DAILY CLEANSE - The Ultimate 3-In-1 Fiber
Ultimate Daily Cleanse by North Coast Naturals is a remarkable WHOLE-FOOD-based fiber. It's not a heavily processed fiber isolate, like so many on the market today. Each serving of Ultimate Daily Cleanse provides 14 g of fiber plus 6 g of Omega 3 & 6 Essential Fats and shelf-stable and clinically researched Probiotics.
Ultimate Daily Cleanse uses not 1 but 6 gut-healthy fiber sources: Canadian flax, psyllium husk, organic quinoa, organic chia, organic pumpkin and organic sprouted brown rice. Together, these fiber-rich whole foods provide 14 g of both soluble (8 g) and insoluble fiber (6 g), totalling 50% of the recommended daily value for fiber
This blend also provides 6 g of EFAs (essential fatty acids), 5 g of which are the omega-3 fats that we're deficient in. EFAs from flax seed not only benefit our joints, heart and health in general, but they lubricate the gut and are just as effective as the more commonly over-prescribed mineral oil used for constipation.
Two probiotic strains, Bacillus subtilis DE111 and Lactobacillus fermentum SD-5847 are included in Ultimate Daily Cleanse and provide impressive gut health benefits. Bacillus subtilis DE111 has undergone over 30 studies. This strain has documented gut and immune health benefits. The gut accounts for 70-80% of our immune system!¹⁵
What is FODMAP? Ultimate Daily Cleanse is low-FODMAP friendly. Found in many common foods, FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are specific types of carbohydrates (sugars) that can be hard to digest for people with gastrointestinal issues like IBS, and result in unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal discomfort. You may not suffer from IBS, but for the many that do, they appreciate our low FODMAP ingredients.
Live Long & Prosper!
Although Mr. Spock from Star Trek wasn't referring to fiber when he popularized the saying "Live Long & Prosper", it nonetheless applies. In the context of fiber, maybe "Live Long and Have Prosperous Health" would be more fitting. Take the fiber challenge, strive for no less than 25-38 g of fiber a day, and see how you feel in as little as 1 to 2 weeks. Consuming more fiber each and every day should help us all live a longer and healthier life!
¹Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jul 7;11(1):80-85.
²Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Dec;4(12):984-996.
³Nutr Today. 2015 Mar;50(2):82-89.
⁴J Nutr. 2012 Jul;142(7):1390S-401S.
⁵Proc Nutr Soc. 2006 Feb;65(1):1-6. doi: 10.1079/pns2005471.
⁶Am J Epidemiol. 2015;181:83-91.
⁷World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death
⁸Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan;72(1):57-65.
⁹Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417-35. doi: 10.3390/nu5041417. PMID: 23609775; PMCID: PMC3705355.
¹⁰Neurosci Lett. 2016 Jun 20;625:56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.02.009. Epub 2016 Feb 8. PMID: 26868600; PMCID: PMC4903954.
¹¹Adv Nutr. 2016 Nov 15;7(6):1111-1121. doi: 10.3945/an.116.013219. PMID: 28140328; PMCID: PMC5105045.
¹²Cell Immunol. 2018 Jun;328:24-32.
¹³J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Nov 24;13:43.
¹⁴Front Immunol. 2019 Sep 18;10:2051. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02051. PMID: 31620118; PMCID: PMC6760365.
¹⁵Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Sep;153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):3-6.
Disclaimer: The information in this article has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek competent medical advice before making any significant changes to your normal eating pattern.