Are fibres best substitutes for sugar?

23 July 2020 | Opinion | By Dr Siddhant Bhargava

The rising consciousness among consumers about preserving a healthy diet will be a vital aspect impelling the worldwide dietary fibres market growth Image credit- Image credit-

It is a known fact that added sugar is undoubtedly the single worst ingredient in the contemporary diet. Excessive intake of it has been linked with numerous grave health maladies like obesity problems, heart ailments, and falling prey to diabetes and severe health issues like cancer. What’s more, most people tend to consume way too much of sugar and often have no idea about their excessive intake.


Why exactly is sugar unwholesome for you?

For starters, it is important to comprehend that there is simply nothing good about sugar. It encompasses absolutely no amount of protein, essential fats and has an absence of vital vitamins or minerals required by the body. Hence there really is no necessity for it to be a part of one’s diet. In fact, there is an endless list of reasons why one needs to avert incorporating it into one's diet.

Sugar tends to interfere with hormones present in your body that control hunger pangs and satiety. This can cause an augmented intake of calories and can contribute to unwanted weight gain. It also troubles your metabolism, which can further lead to mounted insulin and fat storage.

Additionally, it has been researched that there is a close link between sugar and obesity. Simply put, people who tend to consume the most amount of sugar are far more probable of becoming overweight or obese than those who tend to consume the least quantity. Furthermore, sugar is addictive. It can cause dopamine to be released in the brain's reward centre, which is a similar response triggered by addictive drugs. This can lead to cravings and can lead you to overeating. Fortunately, there are a number of healthy ways to sweeten edibles which can act as a substitute for adding sugar, and healthy fibres are one of them.


 How fibres can uphold our health?

Dietary fibres are a non-digestible carbohydrate that is present in edibles. Depending on its water solubility, it is generally split into 2 broad categories namely soluble fibre which dissolves in water and can be absorbed by the good bacteria found in the gut and insoluble fibre that does not melt in water.

Fiber is one of the foremost reason behind the whole plant edibles being exceptional for you. It has been researched that adequate intake of fibre may help your process of digestion and will lessen your risk of long-lasting ailments. Many of these advantages are mediated by your gut microbiota. One of the most effective ways to classify fibre is fermentable versus non-fermentable, which implies to whether friendly gut bacteria can utilize it or not.


Fibre Vs Sugar

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you must consider filling up on fibre. This is because incorporating high-fibre edibles in your diet is a wholesome way to regulate high blood sugar. And consuming great amounts of soluble fibre that are found in apples, oatmeals, and beans may help shrink hazardous visceral abdomen fat. Fiber encourages good bowel health, drops down the peril of cancer and heart ailments, and also regulates your blood sugar in a certain way.

When fibre is absorbed, your body handles it in a different manner as compared to ways in which sugars are digested. A portion of the fibre effortlessly passes through your digestive system intact. This alteration implies that consuming edibles rich in fibre are less probable to cause a spike in high blood sugar. Moreover, fibre does not need insulin to digest hence it isn't calculated as part of your carbohydrates. In spite of all this, you must also keep a close track of the amount of fibre you are consuming. Adults require at least twenty-five grams of fibre on a daily basis for optimum health outcomes.

Certain types of fibre can also facilitate in reducing weight by dipping your appetite. In fact, surging the intake of dietary fibre can lead to weight loss by inevitably condensing calorie intake. Fibre has the capability to soak up water in the intestine, decelerating the absorption process of nutrients, and raising feelings of fullness. This, however, is totally dependent on the type of fibre you have been consuming. Some types have absolutely no impact on weight, while certain soluble fibres can have a noteworthy effect. For instance, an operative fibre supplement for weight reduction is glucomannan.

Edibles that are rich in fibres tend to have a lower glycemic index than the sources of refined carb, which have been stripped of most of their fibre. Incorporating glutinous, soluble fibres in your carb-comprising meals may lead to lesser spikes in blood sugar. This is significant, particularly if you have been following a high-carb diet. In this case, the fibres present have an ability to shrink the probability of the carbs raising your blood sugar to damaging levels. In case you have blood sugar issues, you should try and condense your intake of carb, particularly low-fibre, refined carbs, such as white flour edibles and added sugar.

Viscous, soluble fibre can also condense your levels of cholesterol in the body. It has been researched that consuming two to ten grams of soluble fibre on a per-day basis has an ability to reduce the total cholesterol by only 1.7 mg/dl and LDL cholesterol by 2.2 mg/dl, on average. People who consume more fibre-rich edibles have a condensed peril of heart ailments.

Owing to the fact that fibre fills you up, it is very easy to stick to the appropriate and correct portions. Contradictory to this, consumption of refined and sugary foods that lack fibre has an ability to make you desire more thus promoting excessive eating habits.


Ways to surge your daily intake of fibres 

  • Opt for a wholegrain breakfast cereal with no extra sugar being added to it, for example, go for porridge, healthy sugar-free cereals and muesli, plain wheat biscuits, and add some fresh fruit.
  • Consider choosing wholemeal bread and pasta and swap them with the unhealthy white varieties
  • Consume potatoes with skins
  • Ensure you are adding a lot of vegetables, beans, and pulses to soups and curries.
  • Substitute a sugary chocolate cookie or cereal bar for a handful of unsalted nuts or whole-wheat biscuits with no added sugars.


Industry demand for dietary fibres

The rising consciousness among consumers about preserving a healthy diet will be a vital aspect impelling the worldwide dietary fibres market growth. This has occasioned in a noteworthy demand for fibre-based products as consumers have comprehended their health advantages in plummeting ailments such as disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular illnesses, and obesity risks. By putting a little bit of effort, you can substitute your sugar dependency by adding fibres to your everyday diet, thus refining your overall health.


Dr Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness & Nutritional Scientist, Co- Founder, Food Darzee, Mumbai


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