Bad Fiber AKA: Insoluble Fiber
By itself, fiber isn’t bad (when consumed in moderation). It’s the source of bad fiber that can be a problem.
Not all fiber sources are created equal. I think it’s safe to say that getting fiber from eating green leafy vegetables, like broccoli and asparagus, is much better than getting it from potato chips or cookies.
But why is that?
Why do you have to be so mindful of where your fiber comes from in the first place? And why is it essential that you avoid these terrible sources?
High Fiber In Processed Foods
Today, it’s common to see foods with packaging that boasts high fiber content lining the shelves of local grocery stores.
And like clockwork, millions of consumers buy these products thinking they’re eating a “healthy” alternative.
But what they tend to forget is that even though a particular type of food now has more fiber, that doesn’t automatically make it healthy.
They still contain the same number of additives, preservatives, and other processed ingredients as before.
Often, even the resource used to “increase the fiber” is poor quality.
One of the main ingredients used to increase fiber content in foods is powdered cellulose, which is insoluble (non-digestible). On the surface, it appears to be a win-win for both consumers and the companies using it:
- It saves corporations up to 30% of ingredient costs per year.
- It allows the removal of a significant amount of fat from certain types of foods (in some instances as much as 50%).
Impressive when you look at it in that context, right?
Here’s something you should know about the perceived fiber content in these “high fiber” foods:
Processed foods remain low in GOOD fiber. Yes, even if the nutrition label on that box of cookies states otherwise, the soluble fiber content of highly processed foods is still significantly lower than whole food sources.
You can thank the other crap ingredients in processed foods for it. See, most of the fiber is lost during the processing of the foods. And what’s left is insoluble fiber, which passes right through your digestive system without adding any benefits.
The Most Infamous Culprit – Whole Grain Bread
One of the most popular types of “high fiber” processed foods is whole grain bread. And rightfully so… whole grains are naturally high in fiber.
But a majority of the whole-grain products lining the shelves contain very little fiber. Again, that can be chalked up to the processing that takes place to get the end product.
Additionally, the highly processed whole grain products contain more sugars than whole grains that are left intact.
Which can lead to a spike in your blood sugar level and consequently increased hunger and risk of contracting insulin-based diseases?
The moral of this section…
Just because it’s labeled as whole grain, doesn’t mean it’s an excellent source of fiber. When in doubt, always choose a whole grain that is as untouched as possible.
My Recommendation On Limiting Bad Fiber Sources
Let’s face it…
We’re all human, and we’re all going to sneak cookies and crackers and chips into our diet at some point or another.
They taste too good not to indulge every once in a while.
The key is to make sure you don’t overindulge. That means always making it a priority to get your fill of fiber from good sources first (like beans, leafy vegetables, and nuts and seeds)…
And then having the occasional “high-fiber” snack (like cookies, crackers, etc.).
IMPORTANT: On race day, stay as far away as you can from highly processed foods.
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