What Happens to Your Body Without Enough Fiber?
You know how much we love fiber and its many benefits if you’ve been following us at the Hallelujah Diet for a long time. From how fiber can help our bodies eliminate toxins, help promote a healthy gut biome and promote better digestive health to helping us feel more satiated and fuller after every meal, fiber has a lot to offer!
We’ve loved sharing our knowledge with all of you with our in-depth articles on fiber. We are also humbled to provide some of the best fiber cleanses on the market today made from a balance of 28 herbs with a psyllium and flax seed base. But have you ever wondered what happens when we consistently don’t get enough fiber? What happens to your body without eating enough fiber?
Together, let’s explore what happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough fiber and some signs and symptoms so you’ll be able to ensure you’re always eating the right amount.
What is Fiber? A Quick Look
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest. Most other carbohydrates we eat end up broken down into sugar molecules. Insoluble fiber, however, cannot be broken down, and instead, it passes through our bodies undigested. Fiber helps the body regularly use sugars, keeps hunger at bay, helps keep our blood sugars in check, and keeps our colon clean of toxins.
There are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and insoluble fiber does not dissolve. Soluble fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut, which provide us with a multitude of benefits.
How Much Fiber Should We Be Eating Per Day?
According to the Institute of Medicine, women aged 50 and under should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and men aged 50 and under should consume at least 38 grams per day.
The recommended amounts for men and women over 50 decreased to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men as overall calorie consumption decreases with age.
What Happens To Your Body Without Enough Fiber?
Not eating or supplementing to ensure you get enough fiber daily leads to fiber deficiency. Once fiber deficiency sets in, it affects much of your body.
One of the clear signs and symptoms of fiber deficiency is constipation. If you have less than three bowel movements per week, you are severely constipated, and your digestive system isn’t moving waste out of your body quickly enough. Ideally you should have a bowel movement for each meal you ingest. When you are even slightly constipated, your colon will absorb the water from your waste, making it dry out. Once it dries out, it becomes even more challenging to push the waste out of your body.
Constipation issues should never be ignored. If left untreated long enough, it can lead to serious complications such as hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, and rectal prolapse, just to name a few.
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins located in your anus or rectum, and they can happen inside of your rectum or outside on the skin around the anus. What do hemorrhoids have to do with fiber?
As we mentioned above, without enough fiber, you can become constipated. When you’re constipated, you may begin straining during bowel movements or sitting for long periods on the toilet—not enoughfiber leads to constipation, and constipation can lead to hemorrhoids.
More Difficult to Manage Weight and Balance Blood Sugar
Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult for almost everyone, but not eating enough fiber can make it even more difficult. Eating more fiber often helps with weight loss as it keeps us feeling full and satisfied after eating, giving our stomachs enough time to communicate with our brains, signaling we’re full and it is time to stop eating.
Fiber also helps balance blood sugar and insulin response, which helps stabilize our appetites and promote fat burning instead of fat storage. Another great fiber fact? Fiber has zero calories since it is a non-digestible carbohydrate.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is linked to not getting enough fiber. A popular treatment for IBS is to add more fiber to the diet; however, doctors and IBS sufferers need to work together to manage certain types of high fiber diets as some high-fiber foods could make symptoms of IBS worse.
Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death for adult men and women in the United States. Scientists have identified key nutrition and lifestyle factors that help prevent heart disease, and eating a high-fiber diet is at the very top of the list.
Diseases Linked to Fiber Deficiency
There is clear evidence that fiber plays an essential role in our overall health. Many experts believe that fiber deficiency is a link that connects to several diseases. Denis Burkitt, a surgeon who rigorously studied the role of fiber in human health, is known for The Burkitt’s Hypothesis (1). His idea was that diets low in fiber increased the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cavities, various vascular disorders, and large bowel conditions such as cancer, appendicitis, and diverticulosis.
Burkitt followed Cleave’s common cause hypothesis that if a group of diseases occurs together in the same population or individual; they are likely to have a common cause. In this case, that common cause seemed to be a lack of fiber or a diet low in fiber.
In a 2017 article titled “Denis Burkitt and the Origins of the Dietary Fiber Hypotheses,” (2) published in Nutrition Research Reviews, simply grouping these diseases as having a common cause was considered groundbreaking. It also caused quite a bit of controversy, as researchers and experts felt this hypothesis needed more significant research.
Since Burkitt’s passing in 1993, Burkitt’s hypotheses have been verified by massively scaled epidemiological studies. In 2020, The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology researchers published a report that fiber deficiency reportedly increases the risk of heart disease as well as risk of colon, liver, and breast cancers. (3)
Severe fiber deficiency also may be responsible for increases in cancer mortality and death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases, diabetes, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes.
Fiber Is Amazing!
As you can see, there are so many great reasons why we at Hallelujah Diet are so enthusiastic about fiber and all its many benefits! We provide natural dietary supplements such as the Fiber Cleanse Power that helps cleanse and restore optimal bowel function and offer our multi-nutrient B-Flax-D powder, too, providing an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber you need.
Are you ready to embrace the food and body God has granted you? We’re ready to help!