How Does Fiber Support Gut Health? A Registered Dietitian Explains
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How Does Fiber Support Gut Health? A Registered Dietitian Explains

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If you’re into gut health, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the importance of fiber. We’re breaking down all things fiber: its essential role in your gut, where to find it, and the sources you’ll get when you crack open a can of SunSip by Health-Ade!

What is fiber?

Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that’s found in plant foods. Unlike most foods that are broken down into smaller components by your digestive system (think: carbohydrates into simple sugars and proteins into amino acids), fiber cannot be broken down during the digestive process.

What happens to fiber in the body?

Since fiber isn’t broken down during digestion, it passes through your GI tract until it reaches your large intestine. There, the vast number of bacteria present in your colon begin to metabolize the fiber, releasing things like short chain fatty acids, vitamins, and enzymes. These metabolites are referred to as “postbiotics,” and research suggests that they can play a role in strengthening your immune system, reducing digestive discomforts, managing blood sugar levels, and more (1).

Any fiber that acts as a food source for all of the good bacteria in your gut is called prebiotic fiber. If this word sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it’s similar to the term probiotic—but these are two different things!

Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, can offer health benefits. We refer to these as the “good guys” of your gut. Since probiotics are living organisms, they need food to survive just like you do! That’s where prebiotic fiber comes in and serves as “food” for probiotics.

What are the main roles of fiber in the body?

We’ve already discussed fiber’s essential role in feeding your gut bacteria, but its roles extend beyond that alone! In the realm of other digestive functions, fiber:

  • Promotes bowel regularity and helps prevent constipation
  • Aids in regulating blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar from your intestines into your bloodstream (this is particularly important for anyone with diabetes)
  • Can help reduce cholesterol levels, which in turn can decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke

Where do I find fiber (and how can I get more of it)?

It’s safe to say that fiber is an essential nutrient, but what are the best ways to include it and make sure you’re getting enough each day?

On average, American adults eat between 10-15g of fiber daily. The USDA’s daily fiber recommendation for adults up to age 50, however, is 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men. Women and men over the age of 50 are recommended to consume at least 21g and 30g/day, respectively (2).

To reach these numbers, you may find it helpful to think about including a variety of fiber-containing foods and beverages throughout your days. Some of the best fiber-full food sources include fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Keep in mind that these foods can be found in many different forms (canned, frozen, or fresh), and all count towards your daily fiber intake!

When it comes to a drink option that will help you get a few extra grams of fiber, we have you covered! This is one of the many benefits of SunSip soda. Each can contains two grams of fiber from agave inulin. Inulin is a soluble fiber extracted from the root of the agave plant. We love agave inulin because it’s a prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

I want to increase my fiber intake. Is there anything I should be aware of?

Yes! Try to increase your fiber intake gradually so your body has time to adjust. Drastically increasing your fiber intake can lead to some GI discomfort, so it’s best to take things slow. It’s also important to stay hydrated as you’re consuming more fiber because fiber draws water into your intestines and helps things pass through your gut smoothly.

The good news? SunSip has two grams of fiber per can and it can count towards your daily hydration goals! Plus, unlike some prebiotic sodas out there that have close to ten grams of fiber per can, SunSip is a great option to help you slowly boost your fiber intake over time which means less risk of GI discomfort.

Bottom line…

Fiber is your gut’s bestie. You can meet your daily fiber recommendations through a variety of plant foods, supplements, and healthy beverages like SunSip. If you’re new to focusing on fiber, take things slow and explore what options feel best for your body. Happy sipping!

Sources:

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2022.887642/full
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/dietaryfiber.html

This blog post was written by Claire Chewning, RDN & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

Claire Chewning

Claire is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who's not on board with restrictive diets. She’s the owner and founder of Yours Chewly Nutrition, a virtual private practice where she helps individuals heal from chronic dieting and disordered eating so that they can discover peace and trust in their relationships with food + body. She’s also Health-Ade’s Registered Dietitian Advisor and loves educating employees and consumers about all things gut health from a non-diet perspective! She even writes a few blogs from time to time. Cheers!

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