Why Bodybuilders Need Fiber

This is post by NoBull Author, Mike Boyle

The Functions of Fiber

Sources of Dietary Fiber

What is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a nutrient found in the cell walls of plants that your body can’t digest or absorb.  Fiber is classified as a carbohydrate, unlike other carbs which your body breaks down and absorbs.  Fiber isn’t digested by your body, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body.  It might seem like fiber doesn’t do much, but it serves many health benefits.

Types of Fiber:

Insoluble Fiber:  This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Soluble Fiber:  This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

As a Bodybuilder Why Do I Need Fiber?

As a bodybuilder, im sure you are trying to build as much muscle as possible.  To do this you have to eat a lot of protein.  The problem with consuming high amounts of protein from chicken, beef and turkey.  The meat could be staying in your digestive tract for too long and produce toxins that could have negative affects on your health.  Consuming the right amount of fiber per day with help to make sure the food is moving through your digestive tract smoothly.

Fiber also slowes down the gastric emptying process.  Gastric Emptying is the process in-which your food moves from your stomach to your small intestine.  When you eat foods with fiber, the fiber helps slow down this process.  By slowing down the transfer of food to the small intestine your body will be able to extract the nutrients much more efficiently.  This has the benefit of keeping your body in a more anabolic state longer and decreases the chances of muscle catabolism setting in.

Along with the benefits to your digestive system, fiber also helps control blood sugar levels.  This will result in a more gradual release of sugars into the bloodstream and will decrease the chances of unnecessary insulin spikes and unwanted fat storage.

When to Eat Fiber:

Avoid fiber post workout.  The goal of post-training meals is speeding up digestion–to get glucose from carbohydrates into the blood as fast as possible to stimulate muscle recovery and growth.  Eating fiber in your post-training meal will only slow down digestion.  Save the fiber for the rest of your daily meals.

How Much Fiber Should I Have Per Day?

I have read that you should get about 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat.  This mean that most bodybuilders should get 25-40 grams of fiber per day.  You can use a fiber supplement in addition to fiber from natural sources to meet your fiber needs.  If you notice that your fiber is a little below par.  I suggest a slow approach in increasing it.  Add an addition 2-3 grams of fiber a day per week until you reach your desired amount.

Tips to Help Get More Fiber into Your Diet:

  1. Eat a high fiber whole grain cereal for breakfast (oatmeal, shredded wheat).
  2. Keep cut up raw veggies in your fridge to snack on.
  3. Add beans and legumes into your diet.
  4. If you eat bread make sure its whole wheat/grain.
  5. Have an apple a day, add in a few pieces of fruit per day.

List of Foods Rich in Fiber:

Fruit Serving Size Total Fiber (g)
Blueberries 1 cup 3.5
Apple 1 medium 3.3
Strawberries 1 cup 3.3
Orange 1 medium 3.1
Raisins 1.5 oz 1.6
Grains, cereal & pasta
Whole wheat spaghetti 1 cup 6.3
Bran flakes 3/4 cup 5.1
Oatmeal 1 cup 4
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 1.9
Legumes, nuts & seeds
Lentils 1 cup 15.6
Black beans 1 cup 15
Almonds 24 nuts 3.3
Pistachio nuts 47 nuts 2.9
Peanuts 28 nuts 2.3
Cashews 18 nuts 0.9
Vegetables
Peas 1 cup 8.8
Brussel sprouts 1 cup 6.4
Potato 1 medium 4.4
Corn 1 cup 4.2
Popcorn 3 cups 3.6
Carrots 1 medium 2

NoBull Author Mike Boyle

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