If you took a look at the products in the supermarket you’d think we were suffering from a lack of protein in the Western World – this is far from the truth as it is fibre where we have the biggest issue.
Before the advent of modern agriculture, our ancestors would consume over 100g of fibre a day; now the average is the West is 18g per day. The official dietary guidance is to consume at least 30g a day – challenging figures showing the extent of the fibre gap.
More and more science is coming to the fore that tells us that these words from Hippocrates have never been more relevant than they are today. Food is essential for our survival and growth, but more than that; the type of food we consume directly correlates with our overall health and well being.
A review ‘The Impact of Dietary Fiber on Gut Microbiota in Host Health and Disease‘ by Kassem Makki, Edward C. Deehan, Jens Walter and Fredrik Bäckhed focuses on dietary fibres and how they interact directly with gut microbes. This interaction leads to the production of key metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). The review discusses how dietary fibre impacts gut health and consequently the overall health and well being of humans.
It shows how the high sugar, high fat, high protein, low fibre Western Diet filled with emulsifiers and bad additives leads to a dysfunctional intestinal barrier causing inflammation and chronic disease.
On the other hand a more healthy ‘Mediterranean diet’ high in fibre, fatty acids and phytochemicals results in a high functioning intestinal barrier leading to better overall health and increased immunity to infections.
The review looks at research amongst different cultures and different environments to see how this impacts on the diet and consequently on gut health. It then goes on to cover the systemic beneficial effects of fibre intake on lung physiology and asthma and on obesity and diabetes. It also highlights that one size does not fit all and that there have been inconsistencies in some of the human trials. We also need to consume a lot more fibre to see huge benefits, but also need to increase consumption gradually to minimise discomfort and allow the body to adjust.
It concludes that dietary fibres can be considered key ancestral compounds that preserve gut ecology, especially regulating macronutrients and host physiology. Screening novel fibers, both extracted and purified from food as well as those selectively modified or synthesised, for their potential as the next-generation prebiotics, and defining efficient strategies to reintroduce high amount of fibres aiming at replenishing the gut microbiome with essential missing microbes, will be the next challenge to significantly impact gut microbiota-associated human diseases. Finally, a better understanding of diet-microbiota interactions will help to develop a personalised nutrition approach that would target and reduce more efficiently the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases.
A varied diet rich in fruit and more importantly vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and seeds is the best way to increase your fibre consumption. The Fibre File by Josie Wareing, our Troo nutritional therapist, covers everything you need to know about fibre.
Incorporating Troo products is an easy and delicious way of increasing prebiotic fibre in your diet. A bowl of Troo Porridge or Troo Granola is almost one third of the recommended fibre intake; whilst two teaspoons of our Troo Spoonful of Fibre syrup is almost 8g of fibre.