Whether you’re a regular gym goer or not, it won’t have passed you by that protein seems to be the nutrient of the moment. Hailed as the key to fast-tracking ourselves to a perfect physique, added protein in food products seems inescapable. Everything from milkshake and cereals, to chocolate bars and peanut butter gets the protein treatment. Despite the abundance of these new protein-rich products in the supermarket, the reality is that most of us of get enough protein from our regular balanced diets 1.
But according to the NHS, there is an essential nutrient that we really aren’t getting enough of here in the UK.
It’s recommended that we consume 30g of fibre a day, and yet on average most adults manage roughly 18g. A 12g under-eat may not sound drastic, but dietary fibre plays a truly vital role in our guts.
How much do you really know about fibre?
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Why is eating fibre good for you?
Eating enough fibre is linked to a whole host of health benefits including a lower risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
Eating enough fibre is linked to lots of health benefits
How is fibre linked to bowel cancer?
Around 66 people are told they have bowel cancer every week in Yorkshire. Despite the strong link between high-fibre diets and reduced risk of bowel cancers, scientists are still looking at the evidence to explain how exactly fibre does this. One theory is that as fibre is difficult for our bodies to break down, it moves through our gut into the bowels acting like a sweeping brush. This means waste products and any harmful chemicals from broken down food is swept along with the fibre, keeping things moving through the bowels. There is also evidence to suggest that fibre also works with the friendly bacteria in our guts, helping to keep them healthy 2.
Is it true fibre helps you lose weight?
Fibre that doesn’t get broken down in the gut helps us feel fuller for longer, protecting us against overeating and weight gain. According to the NHS combining increased fibre intake with a balanced diet and regular exercise is an effective way for most people to maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is also linked to reducing your risk of other types of cancer too. You can find more tips on this here.
Fibre can help us feel fuller for longer protecting against overeating
Fibre is an essential and understated nutrient, helping protect us against bowel cancer and other major illnesses, as well as helping us maintain a healthy weight. And while it may not steal the spotlight from protein and its trendy, muscle-building aesthetic, eating enough fibre should be important to all of us.
For some simple tips on increasing your fibre intake click here.
*There are some instances where lower fibre diets are appropriate for some people. Please follow dietary advice provided by your GP if you suffer from any such condition.