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Think you might know everything there is to fiber? In this article, we have handpicked and consolidated a list of 5 most popular myths about fiber and will discuss and debunk them in this article.
1. Fiber Cures Constipation
While it is true that not getting enough fiber in your diet can lead to constipation, just consuming a ton of fiber alone does not necessarily help you combat the issue (1). Not drinking enough water for example can lead to constipation as your stool might not be moist enough to be passed easily. Lack of exercise (or leading a sedentary lifestyle) can also be one of the causes to constipation.
2. High fiber Content exists in all Fruits and Vegetables
Not true, typically those fruits and vegetables that contain a higher water content or more non resistant starch do not have that much fiber content in them (1). Some examples include cucumbers, soft cantaloupes, honeydew, ripe bananas, well cooked vegetables and potatoes (without skin) (2).
However, these still serve as great sources of nutrients and minerals, and would be encouraged for individuals who are suffering from diarrhoea or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and need to be on a relatively lower fiber diet to ease the effects.
3. Drinking Fruit Juice is as good as eating fruits
The fact is, fruit juices are not healthy as they seem. Consider a side of whole fruits and keep away from juiced versions as they are much higher in sugar content. Nutrients, and fiber contents may be greatly reduced due to the juicing process. Even though some would contest that cold press juices still retain the fiber content as whole fruits but still, one glass of say cold pressed orange juice still requires about 3 to 4 oranges to make. Drinking that one glass of orange juice will basically be consuming 3 to 4 times the sugar content of what one whole orange provides.
4. Fiber supplements are great to help you hit your daily fiber intake quota
In actual fact, fiber supplementation should not be something you should be looking at right off the bat. There are studies that showed that fiber supplementation might not be as beneficial as you think they are. This is because relying on powdered fiber is proven not to be able to give you the protective effects to your overall health as would consuming it from whole foods can. Moreover, too much soluble fiber in the digestive system might also prevent minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium as well as certain medications to be poorly absorbed by the body (1).
5. Stop taking fiber when you have diarrhoea
Diarrhoea happens when food passes through the intestines too quickly and gives little time for water to be absorbed, resulting in loose / watery stools. Fiber, soluble fiber in particular, is water absorbent and able to slow down the movement of food through the digestive tract. This gives the large intestines an opportunity to absorb more water, thereby making stools more solid (3).
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)