In a time when so much emphasis is put on carbohydrate, protein and fat levels in the different fad diets, it is easy to forget about that somewhat unsung hero of your regularity, fibre.
But that is not the only purpose of fibre, it also contains nutrients that although unusable for us, can be utilised by an array of microorganisms that reside in our guts. But what happens when we eat low levels of fibre? That is the subject of a paper published ahead of print in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.
These gut microorganisms also interact with our immune system and growing evidence suggests that when the host-microbiome symbiosis is disrupted there is an increase in “immune mediated pathologies”.
The authors of the paper say that due to a modern lifestyle such as the western diet, the daily dietary fibre intake has plummeted from around 55g observed in the traditional South African diet to around 18g in the typical UK diet. This lack of fibre and other factors such as antibiotic use and modern clinical practises leads to microbiome depletion.
So what do they think should be done? Rather than say let’s all eat more wholegrain they are going for the fortification route. If people don’t get enough fibre in their normal diet, then add fibre to the white flour, which makes up a big part of the western diet. They go on to list a number of dietary fibres that are available on the market and suggest tests to see how much can be added to the flour and not negatively affect the flavour or consistency of the food.
Tomorrow we talk about fermented foods, another way you could increase your gut micobiome.