Obesity is becoming a growing international concern, reaching status as the world’s most prevalent noncommunicable disease with over 1.9 billion overweight and 600 million obese adults in 20141. Despite this growing concern, combating obesity has proven a great challenge, as its emergence has shown to be much more complex than once thought.
Scientific researchers have begun to dig deeper into underlying contributors to obesity, discovering numerous contributors including hormonal dysregulation and imbalanced gut flora, while concurrently highlighting various environmental contributions such as the high prevalence of processed and pre-packaged foods2-8. In combination, these numerous factors have made it apparent that obesity is a disorder to which the general population is highly susceptible.
Considering the undeniable links between obesity and metabolic syndrome (which encompasses disorders such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes), it is apparent that individuals must consider dietary and lifestyle factors that will prevent or reduce obesity status and further states of metabolic degradation.
The good news is that methods for preventing or reducing obesity may be just under your nose – or better yet, in your kitchen!
It has been well demonstrated that one of the most powerful at-home tools to combat obesity is dietary fibre. Fibre carries the ability to correct several obesity-promoting mechanisms by reducing hunger and increasing satiety, enhancing insulin and glucose responses, keeping you regular, and so much more9-15! As insulin plays an important role in fat storage processes, a combination of these factors has shown to result in individuals consuming fewer calories, storing a reduced ratio of fat tissue, and increasing elimination of waste from the body. In other words – less in and more out!
With plenty of scientific evidence to back it, increasing dietary fibre has demonstrated to be an appropriate strategy for combating obesity at most stages of life, and has even shown in some trials to be as effective as the pharmaceutical drug liraglutide15.
So, how much fibre is optimal?
Historically, humans consumed 100-300g fibre daily, whereas the current average is around 12g. This highlights the fact that although we are capable of consuming such extreme quantities, nowadays our digestive system simply isn’t used to it.
Additionally, a notable consideration when increasing dietary fibre is that although adverse responses such as bloating and gas are mild, individuals show a wide range of tolerance. This means that while one individual can pound back raw veggies all day, others may begin to feel discomfort, especially when first introducing these foods. This dietary change must therefore be approached in a personalized manner by each individual, which can easily be done through a dose-escalation method.
With this method, simply try increasing your fibre intake by approximately 10g weekly until you reach a minimum of 35g, which has shown to be an effective dose for combating obesity16. If any discomfort is experienced, simply reduce your fibre intake and try increasing again in a week. This method will allow you to gradually increase your tolerance in a personalized manner while minimizing any possibility of discomfort.
If you’re looking for some easy suggestions, you can try switching one carb for another, such as replacing white rice with brown beans, or try subbing French fries for roasted carrot fries and zucchini sticks. Additionally, you can sweeten desserts using fruits such as bananas, and flavour cooking using onions and leeks, all of which contain a hormone-regulating fibre called oligofructose, which has shown to be particularly good at reducing hunger and controlling blood sugar9-10.
Remember, nobody becomes obese overnight, so don’t rush yourself. This is a long-term strategy that will not only assist in protecting against obesity, but also promote healthy bodily processes, and that’s definitely something worth waiting for.
So tonight, let’s propose a toast to good health. But rather than clinking glasses, let’s clink avocados!
- Barlow G, Yu A, Mathur R. Role of the Gut Microbiome in Obesity and Diabetes Mellitus. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2015;30(6):787-797.
- Schéle E, Grahnemo L, Anesten F, Hallén A, Bäckhed F, Jansson J. Regulation of body fat mass by the gut microbiota: Possible mediation by the brain. Peptides. 2016;77:54-59.
- Jumpertz R, Le D, Turnbaugh P, Trinidad C, Bogardus C, Gordon J et al. Energy-balance studies reveal associations between gut microbes, caloric load, and nutrient absorption in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;94(1):58-65.
- Hansen T, Gøbel R, Hansen T, Pedersen O. The gut microbiome in cardio-metabolic health. Genome Medicine. 2015;7(1).
- Hur K, Lee M. Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Disorders. Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. 2015;39(3):198.
- Canfora E, Jocken J, Blaak E. Short-chain fatty acids in control of body weight and insulin sensitivity. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2015;11(10):577-591.
- Kasubuchi M, Hasegawa S, Hiramatsu T, Ichimura A, Kimura I. Dietary Gut Microbial Metabolites, Short-chain Fatty Acids, and Host Metabolic Regulation. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2839-2849.
- Remely M, Aumueller E, Merold C, Dworzak S, Hippe B, Zanner J et al. Effects of short chain fatty acid producing bacteria on epigenetic regulation of FFAR3 in type 2 diabetes and obesity. Gene. 2014;537(1):85-92.
- Daud N, Ismail N, Thomas E, Fitzpatrick J, Bell J, Swann J et al. The impact of oligofructose on stimulation of gut hormones, appetite regulation and adiposity. Obesity. 2014;22(6):1430-1438.
- Pedersen C, Lefevre S, Peters V, Patterson M, Ghatei M, Morgan L et al. Gut hormone release and appetite regulation in healthy non-obese participants following oligofructose intake. A dose-escalation study. Appetite. 2013;66:44-53.
- Giuntini E, Sardá F, Lui M, Tadini C, Lajolo F, Menezes E. Gastrointestinal hormone modulation after a double-blind interventional study with unavailable carbohydrates. Food Research International. 2015;77:17-23.
- Russo F, Linsalata M, Clemente C, Chiloiro M, Orlando A, Marconi E et al. Inulin-enriched pasta improves intestinal permeability and modifies the circulating levels of zonulin and glucagon-like peptide 2 in healthy young volunteers. Nutrition Research. 2012;32(12):940-946.
- Parnell J, Reimer R. Prebiotic fibres dose-dependently increase satiety hormones and alter Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes in lean and obese JCR:LA-cp rats. British Journal of Nutrition. 2011;107(04):601-613.
- Ye Z, Arumugam V, Haugabrooks E, Williamson P, Hendrich S. Soluble dietary fiber (Fibersol-2) decreased hunger and increased satiety hormones in humans when ingested with a meal. Nutrition Research. 2015;35(5):393-400.
- Montelius C, Erlandsson D, Vitija E, Stenblom E, Egecioglu E, Erlanson-Albertsson C. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Appetite. 2014;81:295-304.
- Nilsson A, Johansson E, Ekström L, Björck I. Effects of a Brown Beans Evening Meal on Metabolic Risk Markers and Appetite Regulating Hormones at a Subsequent Standardized Breakfast: A Randomized Cross-Over Study. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(4):e59985.
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