Why dietary fiber is important

Dietary fiber is important for health. They have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and can help prevent diabetes. They promote good bowel movements and can help prevent obesity. They lower cholesterol levels and are therefore good for the heart and blood vessels.

  • What are dietary fibers?
  • Dietary fiber and obesity
  • Dietary fiber and diabetes
  • Dietary fiber and digestion
  • Dietary fiber and cardiovascular disease
  • How much dietary fiber do we need?
  • Fiber-rich products

What are dietary fibers?

Dietary fibers are carbohydrates that are difficult or impossible to digest. They are parts of plants that are not digested by the small intestine. Dietary fibers are roughly divided into two types, soluble and insoluble fibers. Most foods contain both types of fiber, the ratio of which can vary per food. It is therefore important to eat as varied as possible. To get different types of fiber.

Soluble fiber

Soluble fibers are processed by bacteria in the large intestine, releasing substances that stimulate intestinal movement. Soluble fiber is mainly found in vegetables, fruit and legumes.

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber, like a sponge, absorbs fluid in the large intestine. This promotes bowel movements in case of constipation. It also has a stimulating effect on rapid, loose bowel movements due to its thickening effect. This increases the volume of the intestinal contents. Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat bread, muesli, cruesli, oatmeal and bran.

Dietary fiber and obesity

Eating food high in dietary fiber promotes the feeling of satiety, making you less likely to feel hungry. And that is beneficial if you are trying to lose weight. So it has to do with appetite and satiety. And because they are not digested or partially digested, you feel full longer. In addition, fiber provides hardly any calories.

Research at the University of Wageningen

Wageningen University is conducting research into dietary fiber and satiety. Research is also being conducted into whether fibers are good for the immune system. The exact effect of dietary fiber on the feeling of satiety is being investigated in pigs. Fiber in food ensures that certain substances are released in the gastrointestinal tract. The body responds here with hormones that regulate appetite. By investigating how these processes work, one can try to achieve a longer feeling of satiety.

Dietary fiber and diabetes

There is strong evidence that eating plenty of whole grain products can protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. Soluble fiber in legumes, bran and fruit is said to have a beneficial effect on people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Research shows that Certain dietary fibers reduce blood sugar increases after meals.

Dietary fiber and digestion

Dietary fibers accelerate the passage of food through the intestinal tract, resulting in better intestinal function and preventing constipation. With a fiber-rich diet, it is recommended to drink extra fluid because fibers need fluid to swell. Otherwise, the fibers can actually have an adverse effect. It is recommended to drink at least two liters of fluid per day. This also includes having sufficient exercise and not skipping breakfast. A fiber-rich breakfast gets digestion going.

Dietary fiber and cardiovascular disease

A fiber-rich diet protects against the development of coronary heart disease. A link has been found between eating a lot of whole grain products and a lower risk of coronary heart disease. There is also a link between the use of fruit fibers and a reduced level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. A modest association has been established for high blood pressure.

How much dietary fiber do we need?

According to the Health Council guideline, it is recommended to eat 30 to 40 grams of dietary fiber daily. This guideline applies to adults. Most adults in the Netherlands consume less fiber than the recommended amount. For children, it is recommended to gradually increase the amount of dietary fiber from the age of 1 year per different age group.

Fiber-rich products

  • Potatoes, boiled or baked, potatoes in their jackets.
  • Bread products such as whole wheat bread, rye bread.
  • Fruit, such as apple with peel, berries, blackberries, raspberries, figs.
  • Vegetables such as endive, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, leek.
  • Breakfast products such as fiber-rich crispbread, muesli/cruesli, brinta, oatmeal, whole wheat gingerbread.
  • Legumes such as brown/white beans, split peas and lentils.
  • Whole-weat pasta
  • Brown rice

read more

  • Carbohydrates and the glycemic index of food
  • Fruit and vegetables – more is better
  • Tips for eating more fruit and vegetables