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What to Look For in a Fibre Supplement

When it comes to complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre is an essential component that must be incorporated into one’s everyday diet. Carbohydrates are an essential type of macronutrient that is the body’s major source of energy. Complex carbohydrates are more nutrient dense than simple carbohydrates and take longer to break down, digest, and transform into glucose, which is then used as energy by the body. High fibre diets are usually linked to lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments, and even cancer. But what if your diet lacks sufficient fibre? Well, then you’ll need to resort to dietary fibre supplements. But what should one look for in them? Let’s find that out in this blog.

However, before we go into it in detail, let’s first look at the benefits of dietary fibre and the most common food sources of the same.

Benefits of Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre is beneficial for your health in many ways such as regulating bowel movements, preventing constipation, improving digestion, enhancing metabolism, promoting weight loss, regulating blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular health and the like. As dietary fibre keeps you satiated for long, it’s good for weight loss.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult men need atleast 38 grams of fibre every day and females need approximately 25 grams of fibre per day. But we tend to consume simple carbs (biscuits, refined flour pasta, white bread, cakes, etc) more than complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, whole grains) and that’s where we fall short of meeting our daily requirement. If we have more of the latter along with a lot of fibrous fruits and vegetables, we will be able to add a sufficient amount of dietary fibre to our daily routine. If you are someone who experiences bowel irregularity quite often, fibre-rich foods or a daily consumption of a fibre supplement is likely to help improve stool regularity and texture.

Types and Sources of Fibre

Fibre usually comes in two types- soluble and insoluble fibre. While soluble fibre dissolves in water, insoluble fibre doesn’t. The most common examples of the former include gums and plant pectins, while the latter includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose. Common types of soluble fibre include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and psyllium while insoluble fibre includes wheat bran flour, beans, nuts, and vegetables, such as cauliflower, potatoes, and green beans. However, it can get quite cumbersome to consume the exact dose of fibre day in and day out, and that’s why it is best to have a dietary supplement daily to regulate your bowel movements and improve digestive health.

What To Look For In A Fibre Supplement?

When selecting a fibre supplement, you need to check the following things:

Type of fibre: You need to check its solubility. A supplement with soluble fibre is ideal. Go in for a supplement that is scientifically formulated by doctors and nutritionists and one which contains prebiotic fibre formulated from organic superfoods with the goodness of fibrous whole foods like legumes, seeds, fruits and whole grains.

Contents: Opt for a dietary fibre supplement that is free of grit, gelling, additives, sugar, salt, gluten, or unpleasant taste & mixes easily with smoothies, juices or plain water. It is free of harsh fibres such as psyllium, which swell up in liquid aggravating the digestive discomfort & can be quite harsh to sensitive colons.

Contains Prebiotic Fibre: Ensure you check the ingredients list well before making a purchase. Also, opt for a prebiotic fibre like inulin and FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharides).

While inulin is extracted from chicory root, a plant with bright blue flowers that belongs to the dandelion family, FOS is an alternative sweetener that also acts as a prebiotic fibre, known to promote the growth of good gut/probiotic bacteria, alleviate constipation, manage high cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss.
Who Can Have It: Opt for a prebiotic fibre supplement that is organic and can be consumed by children and adults alike.

Dissolvability/ non-thickening: The dietary fibre that you choose must dissolve easily in both hot and cold water or any other preferred beverage. It would be ideal if the fibre supplement has no taste, no colour, no texture, and no grit so that it can be seamlessly added to your favourite food and drinks without causing any gas or bloating.

Additional ingredients: Also, if the fibre supplement in question has other ingredients like apple pectin, oats fibre, organic pea hull, citrus pectin cellulose, curcumin extract, aloe vera gel, flax seeds powder, partially hydrolyzed guar gum, pomegranate extract, caraway extract, cinnamon bark, fennel seeds extract, grape seed extract, senna leaves extract & rice bran extract it’s even better.

Final Takeaway

Dietary fibre supports your overall wellbeing by improving digestive health, regularising bowel movement, helping in weight management, reducing gas and bloating, lowering cholesterol levels, and regulating blood sugar levels, among other things. It also helps with the growth of good gut bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.Having a dietary supplement daily helps especially when one’s diet doesn’t comprise sufficient amounts of fibre. Opt for a supplement that consists of soluble fibre, contains prebiotic fibre like FOS and inulin and contains no sugar, additives, gluten, grit, gelling, unpleasant taste. The fibre you choose should mix and blend easily with smoothies, juices or plain water. Watch out this space for more information as Wellbeing Nutrition is all set to launch its very own organic dietary fibre supplement with all the aforementioned features.

References:
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Fiber, Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics, (https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/fiber)
Dhingra D, Michael M, Rajput H, Patil RT. Dietary fibre in foods: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2012;49(3):255-266. doi:10.1007/s13197-011-0365-5. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614039/)
McRorie, Johnson W. Jr PhD, FACG, AGAF, FACN Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 2, Nutrition Today: March/April 2015 - Volume 50 - Issue 2 - p 90-97 doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000089. (https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Fulltext/2015/03000/Evidence_Based_Approach_to_Fiber_Supplements_and.9.aspx)\
Sabater-Molina M, Larqué E, Torrella F, Zamora S. Dietary fructooligosaccharides and potential benefits on health. J Physiol Biochem. 2009 Sep;65(3):315-28. doi: 10.1007/BF03180584. PMID: 20119826. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20119826/)
Hiel S, Bindels LB, Pachikian BD, et al. Effects of a diet based on inulin-rich vegetables on gut health and nutritional behavior in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109(6):1683-1695. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz001. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6537941/)

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