Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

What actually is fiber? The FDA will decide?

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Fiber, some oligosaccharides, and resistant starch are carbohydrates that most of which are not broken down by human digestive enzymes in the stomach and small intestine and therefore pass into the colon largely undigested. These indigestible carbohydrates benefit health by increasing the amount of water and bulk in the intestine, which stimulates gastrointestinal motility, promoting the growth of a healthy microflora (the microbiome) and slowing nutrient absorption. Fiber foods contain both soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble fiber (does not dissolve in water). Soluble fiber is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine.

How to Choose Fiber-Rich Foods:

  • Have your sandwich on whole-wheat, oat bran, rye or pumpernickel bread.
  • Switch to whole-wheat pasta and brown rice.
  • Fill your cereal bowl with plain oatmeal and add a few raisins for sweetness.
  • Check the ingredient list for “whole” or whole grain”.
  • Don’t forget beans like kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans.
  • Add berries, bananas, or dried fruit to cereal or desserts.
  • Pile lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and peppers, on your sandwich.
  • Have more  than one vegetable at dinner, and try a new fruit.


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