Soluble Fiber May Prevent Obesity
“Eat less, move more” is the conventional wisdom of weight loss, but obesity prevention is not such a simple formula. The foods we eat and the nutrients contained in those foods can have a profound effect on how our bodies work and if we gain weight, even when calories are held consistent. New research published in the American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology tests this theory and points to soluble fiber as a defense against obesity.
In the 2015 study, mice ate either a high- or low-fat diet that lacked in soluble fiber. Not surprisingly, the high-fat diet group rapidly gained weight, but the mice on the low-fat diet gained some weight too. Scientists took a closer look, and saw there were also dramatic changes to intestine and colon health, including inflammation that was likely contributing to weight gain. When inulin, a soluble fiber, was added to the diets, these negative effects on the gut were largely reversed.
Soluble fiber like inulin provides food for “friendly” microorganisms in the gut and has anti-inflammatory properties that support gut health. Inflammation and disturbances to gut health can cause insulin resistance and effect satiety signals, processes that drive obesity. Insoluble fiber like cellulose (fiber that helps keep you regular) did not have this effect.
Natural food sources of inulin include bananas, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, and artichokes. Current Dietary Guidelines and most food labels do not differentiate between soluble and insoluble fibers—aim for at least 25 grams of dietary fiber per day from a variety of sources including fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains to ensure a mix of soluble and insoluble. Start your day with our Banana Breakfast Pudding with Pistachio Crumble and you’ll be up to 9 grams of fiber before you head out the door.
Published March 1, 2016