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10 facts and myths about fibers

  1. Dietary fiber is important for your health. But there are quite a few differences between fibers and a lot of misunderstandings. Test your knowledge: fact or fable?

1. Most people don't eat enough fiber

  1. Fact. Nine out of ten Dutch people do not consume enough dietary fiber. This fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, potatoes and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas). We need 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day, but on average we only eat 19 grams, according to research by the Health Council. To get your daily portion of fiber, you must eat at least 200 grams of vegetables, 200 grams of fruit and 90 grams of brown bread, wholemeal bread or other whole grain products, according to the 2015 Guidelines for Good Nutrition. It is also recommended to eat at least 15 grams of nuts a day. food and putting legumes on the menu every week.

  2. Fact. Nine out of ten Dutch people do not get enough dietary fiber. This fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, potatoes and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas). We need 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day, but on average we only eat 19 grams, according to research by the Health Council. To get your daily portion of fiber, you should eat at least 200 grams of vegetables, 200 grams of fruit and 90 grams of brown bread, wholemeal bread or other whole grain products, according to the 2015 Guidelines for Good Nutrition. food and putting legumes on the menu every week.

2. Fiber protects against cardiovascular disease

  1. Fact. Eating enough dietary fiber helps prevent cardiovascular disease, research shows. Every 7 grams of fiber that you eat extra per day lowers the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 10 percent. It is probably mainly fibers from whole grain cereals and fruit that have this protective effect. This is partly because they lower the level of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in your blood. Furthermore, fiber may help lower blood pressure.

  2. Fact. Eating enough dietary fiber helps prevent cardiovascular disease, research shows. Every 7 grams of fiber you consume extra per day lowers the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 10 percent. It is probably mainly fibers from whole grain cereals and fruit that have this protective effect. This is partly because they lower the level of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in your blood. Furthermore, fiber may help lower blood pressure.

3. Fiber leaves your body unchanged

  1. Myth. Dietary fiber comes in dozens of types. Some are indeed not or hardly biodegradable and leave your body unchanged through the stool. This applies, among other things, to fiber in wheat, vegetables, bran, peas and cabbage. They provide a nice, firm stool. Other fibers are biodegradable and serve as food for the bacteria in your gut. These fibers can be found, for example, in onion, leek, soybeans, lentils, bread and potatoes.

  2. Myth. Dietary fiber comes in dozens of types. Some are indeed hardly or not at all biodegradable and leave your body unchanged through the stool. This applies, among other things, to fiber in wheat, vegetables, bran, peas and cabbage. They provide a nice, firm stool. Other fibers are biodegradable and serve as food for the bacteria in your gut. These fibers can be found in, for example, onions, leeks, soybeans, lentils, bread and potatoes.

4. If you suffer from irritable bowel, it is better not to eat fiber

  1. Myth. You always need fiber and it is indispensable for your intestines. They ensure a good bowel movement, remove waste products from the intestines and serve as food for intestinal bacteria. Fatty acids are formed during the breakdown of fiber in the intestine. These fatty acids ensure that the cells in your intestinal wall form a mucous layer and produce substances that protect the intestine against pathogens. But: when fibers are broken down, gases are also released (winds). And these can lead to abdominal pain in people with an irritable bowel. How much gas is released differs per type of dietary fiber, but also per person. Do you suffer from an irritable bowel? Then determine together with a dietician how much fiber your intestine can handle and which fiber is suitable for you.

  2. Myth. You always need fiber and it is indispensable for your intestines. They ensure a good bowel movement, remove waste products from the intestines and serve as food for intestinal bacteria. Fatty acids are formed during the breakdown of fiber in the intestine. These fatty acids ensure that the cells in your intestinal wall form a mucous layer and produce substances that protect the intestine against pathogens. But: when fibers are broken down, gases are also released (winds). And these can lead to abdominal pain in people with an irritable bowel. How much gas is released differs per type of dietary fiber, but also per person. Do you suffer from an irritable bowel? Then determine together with a dietitian how much fiber your intestine can handle and which fiber is suitable for you.

5. Fiber helps prevent cancer

  1. Not a fact, but not a fable either. Research shows that there are strong indications of a link between eating a lot of fiber and a lower risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes. But researchers do not (yet) know exactly where they can attribute this connection: to a healthy lifestyle in general or to eating certain fibers.

  2. Not a fact, but not a fable either. Research shows that there are strong indications for a link between eating a lot of fiber and a lower risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes. But researchers do not (yet) know exactly where they can attribute this connection: to a healthy lifestyle in general or to eating certain fibers.

6. It is better to eat vegetables, fruits and legumes than whole grains

  1. Myth. Valuable fiber can be found in vegetables, fruits and legumes as well as in whole grains. Each type of fiber has a different effect on the body. For example, one is good for the intestinal function, the other for the intestinal bacteria. It is therefore best to eat many different fiber-rich foods.

7. If the label of a snack says 'source of fiber', it is healthy

  1. Fable. Manufacturers often add fiber to snacks or breakfast cereals to give them a healthier image. In addition, they are bound by legal requirements. If it says 'source of fiber', the product contains at least 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A product â € rich in fiberâ € ™ contains 6 grams of fiber, which is double that. But that is still less than the 7 grams of fiber contained in 100 grams of whole wheat bread. In addition, snacks and breakfast cereals are often high in sugar and saturated fat.

  2. Fable. Manufacturers often add fiber to snacks or breakfast cereals to give them a healthier image. In addition, they are bound by legal requirements. If it says 'source of fiber', the product contains at least 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A product â € rich in fiberâ € ™ contains 6 grams of fiber, twice that. But that's still less than the 7 grams of fiber in 100 grams of whole wheat bread. In addition, snacks and breakfast cereals are often high in sugar and saturated fat.

8. A smoothie is a good substitute for fruit and vegetables

  1. Fact. A smoothie that you make by mashing fruit or vegetables (for example with a blender) contains not only the juice but also the pulp. A smoothie contains just as much healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals as in 'normal' fruit and vegetables. Preferably drink a freshly made smoothie immediately, because the vitamin content deteriorates quickly. Are you on the line? Keep in mind that smoothies are less satiating than when you eat normal fruit and vegetables. Ready-made smoothies often also contain a lot of sugar.

9. Whole grains are bad for your gut

  1. Myth. In recent years, more and more people are not eating grain products (such as wholemeal bread) because they think they are hypersensitive to gluten. In reality, only one in a hundred people has gluten intolerance or celiac disease. They get stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue and other complaints due to gluten. Only these patients benefit from a gluten-free diet. For the other people who avoid grain products, it is unclear whether these products really lead to complaints for them. For them, if you cut out the grain products, you may be getting too little fiber.

10. White bread helps against diarrhea

  1. Myth. If you suffer from diarrhea or loose stools, eat wholemeal bread. This bread contains twice as much fiber as white bread. These fibers work like a sponge in the intestine: they absorb moisture, making hard stools soft and flexible, and thin stools thickening. In case of diarrhea, try to eat as normally as possible and drink extra.



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