Why I Am a Fiber Enthusiast

There always seems to be some new discovery in the world of health and nutrition, doesn’t there? Every so often, we hear about a new and exotic ingredient that can solve all our healthcare woes and help us finally slim down and enjoy optimal health. But what if the most effective solutions aren’t new at all?

I assert that fiber is one of the familiar ingredients we’ve highly underestimated in our society. While we’ve been searching for the newest and greatest health-promoting ingredients, fiber has been waiting around and hoping we’d slow down and notice its incredible health qualities. Unfortunately, 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber in our daily diets. In fact, few of us come close to the recommended 20-30 grams of fiber we should be eating every day.

If you don’t know what fiber can do for your health and weight goals, you’re in for a surprise! Here are a few of the top reasons why I am now a fiber enthusiast.

Fiber Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight

Who doesn’t want to have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight? The battle of the bulge is a challenging one for many of us, which is why we should try to consume the recommended amount of fiber every day.

Foods that are high in fiber tend to fill us up more effectively than foods with little to no fiber. So if your current diet leaves you feeling famished all day long, the secret may be as simple as eating more fiber! High-fiber foods also tend to have fewer calories than the same volume of low-fiber foods.

Fiber Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

It’s no secret that keeping your cholesterol within a healthy range can be challenging as you grow older But fiber can help. Studies reveal that foods high in soluble fiber (such as flaxseed, beans and oats), may lower “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and total blood cholesterol levels. It may even help reduce inflammation and blood pressure while it’s at it!

Fiber Normalizes Bowel Movements

Nobody likes to talk about their bowel habits, but if you struggle to stay regular, it’s time to eat more fiber! Dietary fiber softens the stool and increases its weight and size so it passes more easily. Eating sufficient fiber can also help you out if you tend to get diarrhea often because it absorbs the excess water.

Fiber Helps Control Blood Sugar

If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, eating high-fiber foods can slow down your body’s absorption of sugar and help control your blood sugar levels. If you don’t have diabetes, eating a healthy diet that includes sufficient insoluble fiber may help prevent you from developing the disease in the first place!

Fiber May Prevent Certain Diseases

We are all destined to die sometime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight for greater longevity. Consuming dietary fiber (especially cereal fiber) is associated with a reduced risk of death from certain diseases (such as cancer and cardiovascular disease).

How Much Fiber You Should Take

Here are daily fiber intake recommendations for adults (as provided by The Institute of Medicine):

  • Men (ages 50 or younger): 38 grams/day
  • Men (Ages 51 and older): 30 grams/day
  • Women (Ages 50 or younger): 25 grams/day
  • Women (ages 51 or older): 21 grams/day

You can determine how much fiber you’re getting each day by looking at food labels and looking up the nutrition information of foods that aren’t prepackaged (such as produce).

Good Sources of Fiber

There are a lot of delicious sources of fiber you can turn to if you need to increase your intake. They include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole-grain products
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Peas, beans and other legumes

It’s best to get your fiber from whole foods whenever possible. If you’re ready to start experiencing the many health benefits fiber can offer, start digging in to healthy, fiber-rich foods today!

EBMT: Advances in Weight Loss Procedures

Obesity is an epidemic, and it is one with few options — medication, lifestyle modifications, and bariatric surgery — until recently. For many patients, lifestyle alterations and drugs are not enough for lasting change. While bariatric options are capable solutions, most patients struggle to meet surgical requirements, and even if they do, they opt out of surgery because of fear and anxiety.

Thankfully, because of recent medical advancements, overweight patients have options outside of lifestyle interventions and invasive surgeries. Endoscopic bariatric and metabolic therapies provide a necessary median between dietary changes and surgical options.

EBMT procedures present fewer risks than traditional bariatric surgeries and are outpatient procedures. The process involves the insertion of a small, flexible scope through the patient's mouth and requires reducing their stomach volume and possible alterations to the digestive tract. The reduced risks and minimal invasiveness mean an entirely new patient pool can receive treatment for obesity and other metabolic diseases.

The Rise of Noninvasive Procedures and Customization

While not a widespread practice at the moment, EBMT procedures are growing in popularity. One of the few institutions currently providing various EBMT services in the Midwest is the University of Michigan's Michigan Medicine program.

According to the program's head, it is a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, using nutritionists, gastrointestinal psychologists, medical bariatrician, and bariatric surgeons. Each medical professional plays a role in developing a personalized plan for each patient, integrating their personal goals and expectations.

The Michigan Medicine program and others like it aim to provide noninvasive options for patients in need and customized solutions to improve the odds of a successful outcome. Unfortunately, because the methods are still new, many insurance providers do not cover EBMT procedures, meaning patients should consider the costs and work with a financial counselor to review options.

Types of EBMT Procedures

There are three popular options for EBMT procedures: intragastric balloon therapy, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, and aspiration therapy. Intragastric balloon therapy is for patients with a BMI of 30 to 40. During the procedure, a bariatric surgeon endoscopically inserts fluid or gas-filled balloons through the patient's mouth and into their stomach during a 30-minute procedure. The balloons decrease the available space in the stomach, limiting food consumption. This procedure is reversible, and balloons require removal after six months.

An endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is intended for patients with a BMI of more than 30. While it is compared to the traditional surgical sleeve gastrectomy, this procedure is minimally invasive and incisionless with a low complication rate. It is an excellent option for nonsurgical candidates and provides the possibility of sustained weight loss.

Finally, aspiration therapy is for those patients with a BMI of 35 to 55 and involves the placement of a tube device and drain. A surgeon places the device through a small incision endoscopically into the stomach, leaving a port valve outside the body. The patient will aspirate or open the drain up to three times per day, 30 minutes after each meal. The valve allows up to 30% of a meal to evacuate the system over 10 minutes. The evacuated contents can be discarded.

Aspiration therapy requires medical monitoring, but it can provide an option for long-term weight loss. Patients will need to maintain hygiene and cleanliness practices to reduce the risk of infection or other issues.

Despite the continued obesity epidemic, medical procedures constantly evolve to help combat the problem and offer a solution to qualified candidates. Have you heard of any other new treatments or procedures for weight loss or management?