A lack of fiber can do far more harm to your body than you realize and this is how your body is setting off the warning signs.
It isn't easy having to watch your diet while stress from work, home, errands, friends, family and so much more is already eating away at you. Often, you have only enough time to grab a quick bite and move on to the next chore. You don't even register what you eat because your mind is already on the next task.
But maybe it's time to slow down and take a good look at what you're eating. Especially if you find your body is acting up because it's telling you there's something wrong. And one of the most important things your diet needs is fiber.
“Fiber is the zero calorie, indigestible portion of carbohydrates,” says Samantha Hass, registered dietitian at F-Factor, on AAPTIV, a fitness app website. “A high fiber diet promotes optimal digestive and gut health, bowel regularity, and may help reduce your risk for chronic conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and even colon and breast cancer,” Hass details.
But in order to get those benefits, you have to eat a certain amount of it every day. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day is what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states. Despite this, most Americans actually fall short of the required amount. And you might be one of them.
1. You have no energy
If it feels like no matter how much sleep you're getting or how much you eat, it could mean that you're low on fiber. While you may eat simple carbs from sodas or bread, you're missing out on the good fiber from foods like whole grains, legumes, and fruit, according to Men's Health. “Adding fiber to your meals keeps blood glucose levels stable, providing your body with sustainable energy throughout the day,” says Hass.
2. You are struggling with constipation
"The first thing people notice when they aren’t getting enough fiber is constipation and bloating, or any irregularity in the GI tract or bowel movements," Heather Bauer, registered dietician says as per Self. "[Fiber] helps normalize transit time by moving contents along the digestive tract. It also absorbs water, which leads to softer stools, making it easier to pass through your digestive tract," explains Hass. So if you find yourself unable to come out of the bathroom feeling satisfied, you might need to check your fiber levels.
3. You feel hungry even after a good meal
Fiber takes longer to break down in the digestive tract. That is why high-fiber foods make you feel fuller even if you haven't eaten much. But you are lacking in fiber if even after a heavy meal, you still feel like you need to eat. Especially since this quality of fiber also stops excessive snacking in between meals.
4. Your joints are becoming inflamed more frequently
Dr. Carrie Dennett says, “A low-fiber diet means [that] you aren’t nourishing the “good” bacteria and other microbes in your large intestine, which can throw your gut microbiota out of whack. A healthy, diverse, balanced gut microbiota is important for good health, in part because it can help prevent chronic inflammation." She also adds that this can affect our immune system.
5. Acne starts to break out
Hass explains that fiber absorbs toxins and waste produced by your body before pushing it through your intestines. This, in turn, is expelled from your body through the form of stool. But a lack of fiber can lead to the toxins being released through your pores and thus forming stubborn acne.
6. You start to gain more weight
"Fiber contributes to satiety," says Kathleen Zelman, registered dietician and director of nutrition for WebMD. So when you don't feel full, you tend to eat more until you do. You may actually be eating more than what your body needs. And this can cause you to gain more weight even if you are working towards losing it.
7. Your cholesterol is increasing rapidly
According to Mayo Clinic, the cholesterol in your body attaches itself to the fiber and leaves with it through the stool. However, without enough fiber, cholesterol has fewer opportunities to leave your body and instead starts to enter your bloodstream. Eating more fiber can reduce that effect and in the long run, can also decrease your risk of heart issues.
Too much fiber can cause issues too. To avoid that, you may consult a doctor who can recommend the right amount of fiber consumption for you.
Cover image source: IllustrationDisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.