What is Dietary Fibre?
Dietary Fibre is the component of food that is not digested in the small intestine, but passes to the large intestine (colon). Fibre can be classified as is either “soluble” or “insoluble” depending on how much it is broken down by the bacteria in the large intestine.
What are the benefits of Dietary Fibre?
The most obvious effect of fibre is an increase in the bulk and softness of stool. Consequently, a high fibre diet can help regulate bowel function and help prevent constipation. This is turn can help prevent conditions associated with constipation including diverticulosis (pockets on the bowel), and haemorrhoids. A diet that is high in fibre can help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and is also associated with a lower likelihood of bowel cancer.
How much Fibre should I eat?
The recommended amount of daily fibre is 30 grams. It is not necessary to always measure the amount of fibre in each portion of food you eat. However, it is recommended that you eat a balanced diet from a variety of food groups (see chart below), and regularly include “high fibre” foods.
Are there any problems with having a High Dietary Fibre intake?
Some high fibre foods may result in an increase in the amount of “gas” in the colon. This is a normal process and a change in ingested fibre may help if excessive “gas” is a problem.
Are there supplements I can take to increase my fibre consumption?
Your GastroNorth doctor may recommend additional fibre supplements if you are not able to have enough in your diet, or still have problems with constipation. These have the effect of increase your stool bulk and providing a better stool consistnency. Some of these products include:
> Nucolox, metamucil – psyllium
> Fybogel – isphagula
> Normacol / Normacol plus – sterculia, frangula bark ± stimulant
> Normafibre – sterculia
> Benefiber – wheat dextrin