Super Fiber Controls Appetite and Blood Sugar

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by Mark Hyman, MD, via The Huffington Post,

Imagine eating 12 pounds of food a day—and still staying thin and healthy. That may sound crazy, but it’s exactly what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate for millennia! And they didn’t have any obesity or chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or dementia.

Of course, I wouldn’t advise anyone today to eat 12 pounds of food, because the food in our society lacks one major secret ingredient that our ancestors ate in nearly all their food—fiber!

Fiber has so many health benefits that I want to focus on it. I’ll explain some of its benefits and give you nine tips you can begin using today to get more fiber in your diet. I’ll also tell you about my favorite “super-fiber” that can help you increase your total fiber intake overnight.

But before I tell you about what fiber can do for you, let’s a look a little more at the history of fiber.

Why Bushmen are Healthier than the Average Westerner

Dr. Dennis Burkitt, a famous English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and their “civilized” western counterparts. The bushmen seemed to be free of the scourges of modern life—including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Dr. Burkitt found that the average bushman had a stool weight of two pounds and the “civilized” men had a stool weight of only four ounces—that’s 87.5 percent smaller! The difference was in the amount of fiber they ate.

Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from all manner of roots, berries, leaves and plant foods. And the fiber is what helped those ancestors of ours stay healthy. Just take a look at all the good things that fiber can do for your body.

You need fiber to keep you healthy from top to bottom, as well as to provide food for the healthy bacteria that work within you to promote health.

In fact, fiber can actually prevent obesity and all the chronic disease of aging. This is because fiber slows the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits your body through the digestive tract.  That keeps your blood sugar and cholesterol in ideal balance—and quickly eliminates toxins from your gut and reduces your appetite,

There’s good science to back this up. Research shows that fiber can lower blood sugar as much as some diabetes medications, lower cholesterol, and promote weight loss.

It’s clear, fiber is a great ally in the battle of the bulge.

But it’s also a hero in more serious battles.

For example, one recent study showed how butyrate made by gut bacteria from certain types of fiber acts as a switching molecule that turns on an anticancer gene — and turns OFF colon cancer. In fact, fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as a third and breast cancer by almost 40 percent.

It also lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent. And if you have diabetes, adding fiber to your diet may even help you use less insulin. Plus, it’s a great natural cure for constipation and irregularity.

Now that you know how beneficial it is, let’s look at how you can begin taking advantage of fiber’s health benefits.

Getting Enough Daily Fiber

You should shoot to get 30 to 50 grams of fiber into your diet every day. The type of fiber you choose is important, too.

Most people think that bran is the best type of fiber to eat. But bran (wheat fiber) is mostly insoluble and doesn’t get digested. Think of it as more of a scouring pad for your intestines. That’s good for getting you regular, but it just can’t help your health the way that soluble fiber can.

You’ll find soluble fiber in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and most whole grains. The bacteria in your gut metabolizes the soluble fiber in these foods, and that’s when the benefits start.

Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin, prevent cancer, balance hormone levels, remove excess estrogen and reduce the risk of breast cancer, make vitamins and minerals, provide food for the colon cells, and more. So it’s easy to see just how crucial soluble fiber is to good heath!

In just a minute, I’m going to tell you how to increase your fiber intake. But first, I want to tell you about some recent discoveries regarding an ancient fiber source that can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your appetite and lower your blood sugar more effectively than ANY other fiber. It’s called glucomannan, but I call it super fiber!

Glucomannan: The Benefits of Super Fiber

Glucomannan (GM) is a soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous dietary fiber that comes from the root of the elephant yam, also known as konjac (Amorphophallus konjac or Amorphophallus rivieri), native to Asia. The konjac tuber has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy and to make traditional foods such as konjac jelly, tofu, and noodles. More recently, purified konjac flour, or GM, has been used as a food stabilizer, gelling agent, and supplement.

What makes this fiber so super is the fact that it can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water—making it one of the most viscous dietary fibers known.

That means that GM can help you shed pounds. In many studies, doses of two to four grams of GM per day were well-tolerated. This amount also resulted in significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.

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Source: Organic Connections Magazine (