(Part of our January series on S3 Weight Management - Systematic, Stratified and Sustainable)
Most often when we think about food, we think energy to fuel us: carbohydrates and fat; or we think about protein to build us up; but one of the most important, and all too often over-looked component of our food is one that we don't even absorb. I'm talking about fibre.
OK, sure we think about fibre when we are constipated, but really, fibre does much more than provide regular bowel movements.
It is estimated that only 3% of the population eats the recommended fibre intake of 30 g per day - compare this to protein where 97% reach the daily recommendation. Yet we hear so much more about protein.
Getting enough fibre is one of the most powerful habits for sustainable weight loss.
Fibre is the fuel of our gut microbiome. The bacteria that live in our gut have been called "the forgotten organ" - they weigh more than a kidney and they may be more metabolically active than our livers.
Healthy bacteria in our guts feed on fibre and in the process create short-chain fatty acids (SCFA's)
These fatty acids can be used as fuel: in fact, 10% of our caloric intake comes from SCFA's including 60-70% of the fuel our colons use.
In addition to their role as fuel, SCFA's are important messengers and play a key role in hunger, appetite, satiation, fat and glucose metabolism.
SCFA's bind to receptors in the colon and fat cells to affect ALL the major hunger hormones
SCFA's have powerful effects on fat metabolism
SCFA's also improve blood glucose regulation by
Simply put, eating more fibre will increase circulating SFCA's resulting in:
Even the inert aspects of fibre are important, eating a meal with significant fibre will:
Bottom line - maintaining adequate fibre in your diet is one of the best ways to lose or maintain weight.
Looking at this another way, one of the worst aspects of highly processed foods is the removal of fibre. In 2019, Kevin Hall et al demonstrated that ultra processed foods is not as satiating and resulted in extra food consumption of 500 calories per day!
Where is the best place to get fibre?
For other posts in this series:
On January 22nd - we will launch a new group program - fully covered by MSP (for those with a BMI >30 or a BMI between 27 and 30 and a weight related diagnosis).
During the month of January - we will be posting about the foundational behaviours for sustainable weight management - stay tuned.
If you would like to learn more about the S3 program and whether you are eligible please check out our Sustainable Weight Management program page.
Dr. Brendan Byrne