Personalized Soluble Fiber Supplement Launches in Sweden
Fiber is an important nutrient for optimal health, but most of us still do not meet our daily needs. What is fiber, and why is it so important?
One of the biggest nutritional downfalls in recent years has to be the inadequate consumption of fiber. Between the Standard American Diet, where we eat too much processed foods and not enough fruits and vegetables, and the adoption of low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss, too many of us do not even come close to meeting our fiber needs.
What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body does not fully digest. Generally speaking, there are two separate kinds.
• Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a “gel. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries. Foods with soluble fiber are especially important for blood sugar control and lowering cholesterol levels.
• Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The Benefits of Eating More Fiber
So why is fiber so good for us?
First, fiber is important for our digestive health. Fiber helps move things along within the small and large intestines, gathering up toxins and helping you eliminate them from the body. Having a good working digestive tract can actually help decrease the risk of colorectal cancers.
Second, fiber is good for managing our blood sugar. Since viscous fiber forms a gel in the stomach when added to meals, the result is a slowing of nutrient absorption into the blood stream. This effectively lowers the amount of insulin needed to clear the sugar from the bloodstream which is especially important for diabetics.
Third, fiber may help lower cholesterol levels by binding the cholesterol in the colon and eliminating it from the body. This can reduce the risk of heart disease – America’s top health risk.
Fourth, high-fiber diets can help us feel more full, which can lead to eating less. Ultimately, the lower calorie intake may help us lose weight.
And finally, fiber can help promote a healthy microbiome. Your gut is home to billions of bacteria which are actually good for our well-being. These bacteria feed on fiber and in turn provide us with important nutrients such as short-chain fatty acids. Keeping these little bugs healthy can actually reduce our risk of disease.
About fiber supplements
As a Registered Dietitian, I feel it is very important to try to adopt a diet that can help you reach your nutrition needs with whole foods whenever possible. I promote a plant-based diet because it is rich in fiber – both soluble and insoluble.
However, there remains a “fiber gap” in the world. While we should be striving for at least 20-25 grams of fiber each day, the average intake for most of us is only around 11 grams. For some, the obvious choice is to add a fiber supplement to their daily routine.
The downside to relying on fiber supplements would be that most contain only a soluble fiber source. In addition, you miss out on the additional nutrition that whole plant foods would provide, such as antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
Carbiotix and Fiber Supplements
Carbiotix is an award-winning biotechnology group based in Lund, Sweden. This week they are launching the world’s first personalized soluble fiber supplement. This supplement product takes into account some individualized information that you provide in order to formulate a product best for you.
“Our ambition has always been to develop a product that makes soluble fiber consumption simple, affordable and effective for all consumers. We want to take all the guesswork out of selecting the right fiber, determining how much to take, when to take it, and whether it has any effect on the growth of good bacteria in our gut,” says Carbiotix CTO, Dr. Peter Falck.
The product will be provided based on a subscription model where users sign up online. They then receive in the mail a personalized soluble fiber supplement supply, a gut bacteria sample kit, and prepaid return envelope. Each month, the subscriber will send back a sample where it will be analyzed and used to adjust dosing for the next delivery of Carbiotix.
According to the company’s website, the service costs $55 USD per month (49 Euros), excluding shipping costs. They will also offer a 50% discount on the first months’ fee for the first 300 subscribers. For more information please contact: Kristofer Cook, CEO Carbiotix, +46 (0)708796580, [email protected], www.carbiotix.com
Additional Ways to Increase Fiber in the Diet
Again, fiber supplements are only a piece of the puzzle. Take a look at your diet and see where you can make changes. With fiber, it is best to increase slowly and not all at once. Start with assessing your diet today (are you at least reaching the 11 grams that Americans average?). Add 2-3 grams per day using the following tips:
The best sources of fiber are whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Some tips for increasing fiber intake:
• Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices. Fruit juices do not contain any fiber. (By the way, even if you like orange juice with pulp, the “pulp” does not contain any fiber. The pulp comes from the juice sacs, which are made of cells holding each other together as a bag. They have flavonoids, which are good for you, but no fiber.)
• Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products. Look at nutrition labels and choose a product that has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
• For breakfast, choose cereals that have a whole grain as their first ingredient. Again, ready labels for fiber content.
• Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars. Keep these cut up in the fridge for easy use. Try veggies and hummus or peanut butter for a great snack.
• Also keep fresh fruit out and easily available to snack on. This is especially important for kids – if it is out of sight, it is out of mind.
• Substitute beans or legumes for meat (if you are still a meat eater) two to three times per week in chili and soups. Pureed beans also make a good fat replacer in baked products (lower the fat but increase the fiber – it’s a win-win!)
Harvard School of Public Health
Carbiotix - Carbiotix was founded in 2014 as a spin-off company from the Department of Biotechnology at Lund University, Sweden, the largest university in the Nordic Region and a global top 100 university. The company’s soluble fiber ingredient AXOS was selected as a top new ingredient by the Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) in Europe and the US in 2015. In 2016, an Irish-based company called Pure Fiber Limited was formed to commercialize the AXOS technology.