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All fiber created equal?

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Old 10-29-2008, 04:28 AM   #1
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Default All fiber created equal?

I'm confused! So okay, I know that there are two types of fiber, soluable and insoluable. I know they are both good for your health. But is all, say soluable fiber as good for you as each other?

I'm having a hard time wording what I mean. So, for and example: I have lately been eating Fiber One Yogurt. 5 grams in 80 calories worth of yogurt. I like it. It's creamy and smooth and I really can't tell that the fiber is in there. I think it must be similar to what they put in Benefiber.

But does the stuff really work the same as the soluable fiber I would get from, say, eating an apple? Is it so smooth that it doesn't turn into goo and do what fiber is supposed to do?

I dunno. I just seems lately they these undetectable fiber sources might not be doing as much good as eating the same from fruits and veggies. But, I do like taking the shortcuts sometimes (like with my yogurt).

So, am I being unreasonably skeptical? Or is it too good to be true?
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
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Not that a supplement or additive can't have a place sometimes, but I don't think supplements or food additives ever work the same as the whole foods themselves. They obviously don't come with all the other good stuff the real food does. There are thousands of good things in produce and whole grains, we couldn't replace them all with a vitamin even if we knew what they all were - and we DON'T know what they all are! Think about how much our knowledge of nutrition has changed over the past 10 years, and assume it will change that much again over the next 5-7 years.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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I don't think they are created equal but I do think there is some good in them. There is a lot we don't know about how food works in nature versus separating out the various parts and recreating something.

The studies on fiber being good for you, as far as I know, have all been done on fiber in whole foods versus supplements/additives.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:45 AM   #4
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I get the feeling that you're confusing the concept of soluble and insoluble fiber with "can I tell it's got fiber in it or not".

The texture of what you're eating doesn't define whether it's soluble or insoluble fiber that you're consuming. And you need both kinds of fiber - they each have benefits. Just as a very basic explanation:

Soluble fiber is ... well ... soluble. It dissolves in liquid to some degree and forms more of a "paste" (in layman's terms). It binds with fatty acids. It helps reduce bad cholesterol. It keeps you feeling fuller, longer because it stays in your stomach longer.

Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve - it stays whole. It moves through your system faster and keeps your colon clean and working properly. If you're constipated, insoluble fiber is the way to go.

I take a fiber supplement every day. But I don't use that as my only source of fiber and I make sure to get both kinds of fiber from the food I eat as well. Like Julie said, above, I think supplements have their place, but I don't think they should be used to replace 100% what we get from natural sources.

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Old 10-30-2008, 04:21 AM   #5
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Well, I do get my fair share of fiber from whole grains, veggies, fruit, and the like. I don't really take fiber suppliments, unless you count the fiber one yogurt. I just wondered if the 5 grams I get from it really are doing any good, or is it so well disgused that my body can't even tell it's there!
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:17 AM   #6
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I only take fiber when I eat someone else's food (restaurant or home-cooked), where I'm unlikely to have the whole grains and quantity of veggies I'm used to. Those meals won't make any long-term difference to my health - but life is just happier if the digestive system gets the quantity of fiber it's used to consistently, if you know what I mean .
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:46 AM   #7
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Soluble fiber actually is hard to detect in small amounts. I buy soluble oat fiber from Honeyville, it is a fine powder. I add it to lots of things, and 5 grams is a really small amount. That is also an amount small enough that you are unlikely to notice it.
I find you can detect it taste-wise when you go more than 7 grams in a serving of something (say, yogurt). But definitely a good supplement, especially if you are having trouble meeting your daily requirement for fiber.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:00 AM   #8
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There was a feature article on fiber in the July/August 2008 issue of Nutrition Action newsletter. There are a bunch of different additives that are used to increase the fiber in foods (or just as a bulking agent). They are added to all sorts of food products: yogurt, pasta (such as Ronzoni Smart Taste), energy bars, bread (such as Oroweat's double-fiber products), even ice cream and beverages. According to the article, there is a dearth of studies showing that any of the additives provide the same benefits that fiber found naturally in foods do. In at least one case (inulin--the fiber added to Fiber One Yogurt), there has been a study that showed no clear impact on regularity. In other cases, there just haven't been any studies one way or the other. They did report that studies of some additives seemed to indicate that they might increase stool weight, which could help with regularity, but as for other benefits of fiber (reduced risk of heart disease, etc.), there's very little proof one way or the other.

The issue had a sidebar article that discussed the validity of the health benefits claimed by various yogurt brands, including Fiber One yogurt--see "Yogurt: Superfood or Super Swindle?" They are pretty skeptical about the health benefits of the fiber added to Fiber One yogurt.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:10 AM   #9
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When it comes to yogurt, I buy the cheapest brand I like or can find with active cultures and fewest added sugars.

I find with yogurt, if the brand is advertising how healthy it is (usually because of the probiotics or fiber added), they charge more and often cut the serving (sometimes in half), so you can often end up paying more than twice the price of regular yogurt. If you want to add a fiber supplement - buying yogurt with fiber is not the most economical or effective way to do so. And the probiotic claims are a joke, because all yogurt with active cultures have similar "good" bacteria.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:15 AM   #10
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I eat Fiber One every morning w one cup of fresh blueberries. It's 60 calories(in the original Fiber One) for 14 grams of Fiber I think. I like the taste. The blueberries are an excellent source too. I know fiber keeps you regular and all that but the biggest benefit I see is that I seem to stay more full throughout the day so I am not digging around for something to eat when I shouldn't be.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:16 AM   #11
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kaplods--I buy a generic plain yogurt in a tub...I think you are right--it's all about the same
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Soluble fiber is ... well ... soluble. It dissolves in liquid to some degree and forms more of a "paste" (in layman's terms). It binds with fatty acids. It helps reduce bad cholesterol. It keeps you feeling fuller, longer because it stays in your stomach longer.

Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve - it stays whole. It moves through your system faster and keeps your colon clean and working properly. If you're constipated, insoluble fiber is the way to go.
If you read up on fiber, you'll see - as Photochick has stated - that you need to be sure you're getting both kinds of fiber. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber - it's why you see the ads for cholesterol reduction after eating oatmeal for x days. But if you're looking for regularlity, it's the insoluble fiber you want.

I found the following information which puts is all pretty simply at http://www.healthcastle.com/fiber-so...nsoluble.shtml,

Functions of Insoluble Fiber
move bulk through the intestines
control and balance the pH (acidity) in the intestines

Benefits of Insoluble Fiber

promote regular bowel movement and prevent constipation
remove toxic waste through colon in less time
help prevent colon cancer by keeping an optimal pH in intestines to prevent microbes from producing cancerous substances

Food Sources of Insoluble Fiber

Vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables
Fruit skins and root vegetable skins
Whole-wheat products
Wheat oat
Corn bran
Seeds & Nuts

Functions of Soluble Fiber
bind with fatty acids
prolong stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly

Benefits of Soluble Fiber

lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) therefore reducing the risk of heart disease
regulate blood sugar for people with diabetes

Food Sources of Soluble Fiber
Oat/Oat bran
Dried beans and peas
Nuts
Barley
Flax seed
Fruits such as oranges and apples
Vegetables such as carrots
Psyllium husk

Key Message: An average diet contains 75%:25% insoluble fiber: soluble fiber. When making a food choice decision, don't worry about choosing a specific type of fiber. Many foods such as oat, oat brans, psyllium husk and flax seed are rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber. Eating enough fiber is more important! The recommended intake of fiber is 25g per day. If you eat at least 5 servings of fruits & vegetables as well as at least 6 servings of grain products per day (at least 3 of which are whole grains), you are very likely meeting the fiber requirements.
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:23 AM   #13
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Interesting replies, thanks all. I especially liked the article on the health claims of various yogurts that Bluetoblue linked. Thanks!

I'm not really expecting that much from my yogurt. I like the Fiber One kind because it does taste good to me, and is pretty convenient to take to work to eat during one of my ten minute breaks. It's been on sale the last couple of times I've gone shopping, so so far the price hasn't been too bad. I'm sure it would be cheaper to buy a big tub of the normal stuff, but then I would have to bother with portioning it out and all.

I wish there would be some studies if adding fiber into things like yogurt and splenda really does any good. But I guess the ones who would be most likely to pay for these studies are the companies that sell the products.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:47 PM   #14
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I was pretty bummed to find out that there is no evidence that all this added fiber does any good because I do eat a lot of these products. Not Fiber One yogurt but I am a big fan of Oroweat breads, the Ronzoni pasta, and lots of other carb-type products that have this added fiber. I thought they were great, healthy, low calorie alternatives, but it turns out that, although they are usually lower in calories, they may not be any healthier than white bread or pasta. I guess without the studies we just don't know one way or the other, but still, quite a disappointment.

Tealeaf, you're welcome!
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