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Quick Summary Points

  • Dietary fibre is an essential nutrient to include in your daily diet
  • Offers a range of benefits including promoting satiety, better bowel health & supporting weight loss
  • The daily requirement fibre intake for women is 25g and for men it’s 38g
  • Fiber-rich foods give the fuel you need to be able to continue building muscle mass & keeps you feeling full 

Fibre intake and its role in bodybuilding is often overlooked in relation to the importance of adding it to your diet and how it can assist with muscle growth and as a weight loss support. Most people focus on the main macronutrients like protein and carbs but little did you know fibre can also be a step closer to reaching your goals.

In this article, we’ll be addressing the importance of fibre in your diet, its health benefits and other important fibre-related information for bodybuilding and its effects on our overall health. 

What is Fibre? 

Fibre is an important nutrient that one must include in their diet. Dietary fibre refers to nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. It is often plant derived and mostly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.  Fibre or non-starch polysaccharides incorporates soluble and insoluble fibre which is essential to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

  • Soluble Fibre is fibre that can dissolve in water. This type of fibre can be broken down by bacteria in the large intestine and then re-absorbed by the body in the form of short-chain fatty acids.
  • Insoluble Fibre is fibre that cannot dissolve in liquid and passes through the body un-absorbed. This form of fibre can also be fermented by bacteria in the colon. 

Why Do We Need Fibre? 

Although we can still survive without fibre in our diet, it is beneficial to include in your diet for its variety of health benefits. Fibre offers a host of health benefits including the following:

  • Promotes Satiety – When we are referring to fibre and bodybuilding, those who are looking to go on a low-calorie diet or wanting to feel fuller for longer fibre is the way to go. By increasing your fibre intake, it can help with your energy levels without putting on the extra calories as most fibre foods are not calorie dense foods.
  • Better Bowel HealthFibre travels through our digestive system to absorb the water along the way to help ease our bowel movements. Better bowel movement minimises the risk of colon cancer. Because fibre helps with absorption, fibre allows your body to stay anabolic as it helps to move food throughout your intestine. It allows your body to absorb more of the macronutrients which is crucial for muscle growth.
  • Good BacteriaYour gut needs good gut bacteria to enhance immune function and reduce inflammation. To power through to the gym, you need a healthy immune system.

Fibre & Muscle Growth 

For most trainers, overloading your muscles with heavy weights can often cause small tear and damage to your muscles. Supplementing with fibre means adding nutrients to the body to use for building muscle. Although fibre is mainly known for its role in digestive health, recent studies have suggested that increasing your fibre intake can help increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. Added fibre allows your body to absorb and retain more nutrients and vitamins from your diet. 

Fibre & Weight Loss

There are numerous studies that suggest fibre plays a significant part when it comes to weight loss. Most fibre foods contain soluble fibre that is beneficial because it slows the rate at which food leaves our stomach. As mentioned above, this increases the feeling of fullness and helps explain why those who increase dietary fibre consumption to healthy levels might see certain changes in weight loss.

A tip for those who are embarking their weight loss journey focus on adding high-fibre foods like lentils, kidney beans or chickpeas can ensure you are not over-eating and keeping you satisfied for longer. High-fibre foods are known to be energy dense and have lesser calories which is a perfect addition to your daily diet. 

Fibre & Foods

You may not notice but there are a variety of high fibre foods that you can obtain from food sources. This is highly beneficial to help you stay lean and build fat-free mass in conjunction with a nutrient rich diet. Below is a list of a high fibre foods and its fibre content to help your body gain more nutrients and for you to add to your daily diet.

  • Carrots (including skin) – 6.9g
  • Kidney beans – 6.5g
  • Corn – 5.5g
  • Broccoli (including skin) – 3.8g

Alternatively, you have the option of sprinkling on some chia seeds or a teaspoon of psyllium husk for that extra fibre in your food. 

Fibre Intake & Recommended Dosage 

Most people are unaware of how much fibre they should be consuming in a day. For most men and women, the recommended fibre intake is approximately 21-40g of fibre. The daily requirement fibre intake for women is 25g and for men it’s 38g.  For those who are planning to diet or in the cutting phase can choose to include more fibre to reduce calories and help prolong satiety. 

Fibre & Bodybuilding Final Verdict

To wrap up this article, fibre is a significant nutrient to include in your diet despite what your goals are.  Fibre helps with absorption and allows your body to stay anabolic. It can also be beneficial for bodybuilders for its role in building muscle and gaining strength. For optimum performance and results, the recommended dietary intake for fibre is approximately 25-35g. Whether you’re on a journey to keep fit, stay healthy or looking to lose weight incorporating fibre can impact your goals to success. 

REFERENCES

Medical News Today. (2017). Dietary fiber: Why do we need it? [online] Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146935.php [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017]
Seannal.com. (2017). Bodybuilding & Fiber Intake: How Much Fiber Should You Eat? [online] Available at: http://seannal.com/articles/nutrition/bodybuilding-fiber-intake.php [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
Galland, L. Understanding Dietary Fibre: Power Healing: The New Integrated Medicine to Healing, 1997.
Jones, P., et al., 2002. Clinical Nutrition: 7 Functional Foods - more than just nutrition. Canadian Medical Association Journal: 166 (12).
Mark, K. (2017). From Muscle Fiber to Dietary Fiber: New Connections with Muscle Gain and Fat Loss. [online] Blog.insidetracker.com. Available at: http://blog.insidetracker.com/from-muscle-fiber-to-dietary-fiber-new-connections-with-muscle-gain-and-fat-loss# [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
Irishhealth.com. (2017). Most unaware how much fibre to eat. [online] Available at: http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=24293&ss=fibre [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
Bodybuilding.com. (2017). 40 High-Fiber Foods You Must Try. [online] Available at: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/40-high-fiber-foods-you-must-try.html [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
ThoughtCo. (2017). How Fibers Can Help You With Your Bodybuilding Endeavors. [online] Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/maximize-bodybuilding-gains-415516 [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
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