Mythbusters – Fiber Enriched Foods Provide Fiber Benefits
More About Not All Fiber Is Created Equal!
Companies are cashing in on the fiber craze. You’ll find fiber in foods that never had it before! In an ingenious effort to get you to buy their product, all of a sudden yogurt, ice cream, juices, and other products are boasting about their high fiber content. Buy this product, it’s got lots of fiber!
But you see, that’s just the problem. It’s a man-made product. It’s not the real deal.
Isolated vs. Intact Fiber
Whole foods contain INTACT fibers. These are good for you.
But these companies are taking ISOLATED fibers like inulin, maltodextrin, oat fiber and polydextrose, and adding them to foods. Then they slap the “high fiber” boast on their label, and wait for you to chunk it in your grocery cart and buy it.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough research to prove that these isolated fibers are really such a great deal. For one thing, for a soluble fiber to lower cholesterol it must also be viscous. That means the fiber has to be sort of gummy to do the job.
Inulin, polydextrose and maltodextrin are soluble, but they are NOT viscous, so they do NOT work like intact fiber to lower your cholesterol.
As far as helping regularity, isolated fibers don’t do much there either. Inulin is consumed by the bacteria in your gut so it doesn’t add bulk. One industry sponsored study done in China says polydextrose might help. But there’s a problem even then. Polydextrose can produce a laxative effect, and Inulin can cause gas.
The Bottom Line On Fiber In Your Food
It’s not going to hurt you to eat these fiber-enriched foods in reasonable amounts, but it’s not really going to help you either. All fibers are NOT created equal.
The real truth is that you aren’t getting real fiber benefits with most of these fiber enriched foods. If the label says it’s fiber enriched, and you read something like inulin, maltodextrin, or polydextrose, your reaction should not be to put in your cart. Your reaction should be, “So what?” Cause isolated fibers just don’t do the job intact fibers do.
For real health food, buy and eat foods with the real deal – whole foods with intact fiber.