2 posts categorized "Fiber"

October 11, 2007

The Fiber Revolution – Finally, Fiber Balance Has Arrived

Well, at long last, it’s finally here.  After months of research and development we’re excited to announce the release of our new product, Integrated Supplements Fiber Balance.

Is_fiber_balance_product_2 You’ll find that Fiber Balance is a fiber supplement quite unlike any other on the market today; it’s a

• Fine Powder, not gritty

• Mixes smooth and creamy

• Tastes great

•Contains a full 10 grams of fiber per serving

•Supplies a balanced blend of fiber from five different sources.  

We’re proud to say that there’s no other fiber supplement out there which can make all of these claims. 

But as proud as we are to have created the world’s first great-tasting, smooth-mixing, and balanced fiber supplement, we at Integrated Supplements know that there is still much work left to be done.

You see, creating a deliciously smooth and creamy fiber supplement is only the beginning.  The next challenge for us will be to educate large numbers of people on just how important dietary fiber is to optimal health.

But luckily, this message isn’t ours alone. 

Fiber and Heart Disease

Heart_bowl Some of the largest public health agencies in the country have, for decades, practically begged Americans to consume more fiber in their diet.  The American Heart Association, for example, knows just how important fiber is for reducing cholesterol and heart disease risk, and they recommend that the majority of us consume 28 grams of fiber daily (for a 2,000 calorie diet).

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4574

Fiber and Diabetes

Pic_test_tube The American Diabetes Association knows just how significantly dietary fiber can help keep our blood sugar levels within a healthy range, and they also recommend 28 grams daily.

http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/20/1/49

And it’s interesting to note that amounts higher than this have been shown to be even more beneficial for blood sugar control in diabetics:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/342/19/1392

Fiber and Weight Loss

And as epidemic levels of obesity have become not just an American, but a worldwide problem, even international health organizations have begum to beat the drum for dietary fiber. In a 2003 report, the World Health Organization concluded that dietary fiber was the only dietary component that had “Convincing Evidence” showing a protective effect against weight gain and obesity.

Even the US Food and Drug Administration, an agency which is known for being extremely conservative in allowing disease claims for foods (and nutritional supplements,) realizes how important fiber is for our public health.   They’ve opened the door to allow food companies to make specific health claims regarding the intake of certain types of fiber and the risk of diseases such as heart disease or cancer. 

As a result, some of the largest food manufacturers in this country are now able to promote their products with specific (yet qualified) claims such as “Oatmeal Lowers Cholesterol” or even “Oatmeal May Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease.”

Wheat_closeup And when big businesses like those in the food industry are allowed to make claims such as these, you can be sure that they have the advertising dollars to pump their message into every newspaper magazine and television set in the country.  The food industry, probably more than any other entity, has the power to make the benefits of fiber well known to every man, woman, and child in America.

So, for decades, the most prestigious medical authorities, the highest-level government organizations, and the largest corporations in the food industry have all “joined forces” to promote dietary fiber.

And they’re preaching the gospel of fiber to what should be a very captive audience.  Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity have all reached epidemic levels in this country, and never before in history has there been a society so health-obsessed, or so cognizant of the role of diet in preventing degenerative disease. 

One could hardly conceive of a better setup to win Americans over to a high-fiber diet than the combination of:

• Conclusive scientific evidence of fiber’s benefits
• Expert recommendations from medical professionals and health organizations.
• Regulatory assistance by the FDA in allowing specific disease claims for certain types of fiber in foods
• Massive spending by the food industry to promote the benefits of their fiber-containing products.

But the question remains: has this alliance succeeded?

Well, the statistics say no.  In fact, surprisingly, the end result of this multi-pronged approach to promote dietary fiber to the masses has been pitiful to say the least.

Clipboard Various surveys and studies have consistently shown that Americans know that fiber is good for them, this much of the message has gotten through, but fiber still remains largely a mystery to the majority of Americans – they don’t know exactly what it is, how much they need, or exactly where to find it.

And more importantly, the bottom line is that despite the fiber-cheerleading echoed by medical authorities, health organizations, government, and private industry, Americans currently consume less fiber than ever before; and as a DIRECT result, Americans also eat more, weigh more, and suffer increased incidences of the diet-related disorders previously mentioned like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicate that 90% of Americans still don’t eat even the bare minimum amount of fiber recommended each day to support good health, and some studies have even estimated this number to be closer to 95%!

And even more frightening is the fact that most of us aren’t even coming close to getting the fiber we need.  It’s been shown that the average American consumes only 8-12 grams of fiber per day, an amount which isn’t even half of the 25 grams per day recommended by the FDA.

To give some perspective on just how much the addition of fiber to our diet could benefit our health, just think about the reverse process.  Think about what the health-effects have been as our diet has had its fiber removed:

As the fiber in our food supply has steadily decreased throughout the twentieth, and into the twenty-first century, not only have our levels of diet-related disorders increased steadily, but also, our overall caloric consumption has skyrocketed; and it seems to be increasing at an almost exponential pace.  Would you believe that in the year 2000 that the average American ate 300 more calories per day versus the average American in 1985?  This amounts to a whopping 100,000-plus extra calories per year, an amount which is almost guaranteed to cause significant weight gain and numerous accompanying health-challenges.

It’s the Fiber 

So, as we mentioned earlier, we at Integrated Supplements know that we’ve got our work cut out for us.  It’s up to us to succeed where so many others have failed, in both educating people on the incredible health-effects of dietary fiber, AND in giving them the tools they need to actually take in healthy amounts of fiber each day.

At Integrated Supplements we realized early on in our research that the human body simply cannot be healthy without sufficient dietary fiber.  We also quickly found out that with 90% to 95% of Americans not meeting their fiber requirements, and with all that fiber has to offer our health, that dietary fiber is both the single most widespread and the single most deadly dietary deficiency we face in our country today.  And we simply feel that any supplement company who ignores these facts, and who doesn’t step up to the plate and attack the fiber problem head-on is doing you a grave disservice.

And that’s exactly why we created Fiber Balance.

From the initial feedback we’ve been getting, we feel that Fiber Balance is just the tool people have been waiting for to easily and even enjoyably bridge their “fiber gap.” 

Apple_cider People love its smooth and creamy texture, and  they love the fact that Fiber Balance mixes easily in water, juice, milk, yogurt – almost anything!

The people taking it are noticing less hunger, increased energy, and are having a much easier time taking in fewer calories – even without consciously “dieting.”

We like to think of Fiber Balance as our secret weapon protecting us from the constant temptation of "less-than-optimal" foods.

It’s so simple, and yet so powerful.

And it could be big.  REALLY BIG.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of fiber, or about how and why we created Fiber Balance, you can listen to the latest version of the Integrated Supplements Audio Series, The Fiber Revolution, here.

You can take a look at Fiber Balance here

And you can take a look at the first installment of our Fiber Balance Q & A here.

And in future Blog entries we’ll continue blast some of the myths that have surrounded dietary fiber and fiber supplements for far too long – myths which have been downright hazardous to our health.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, tell a friend.  This is after all the Fiber Revolution.

June 11, 2007

Reducing Inflammation with Dietary Fiber

Bread Though the biological mechanisms underlying its effects are not completely understood, the intake of dietary fiber has long been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  This role of dietary fiber has been very aggressively marketed to the general public in recent years - just take a stroll down the cereal aisle of your local supermarket, and you are sure to see dozens of brightly colored boxes touting the cholesterol-lowering effects of certain cereal fibers, and the seemingly endless virtues of whole grains.

Much of this product marketing stems from the most common assumption among researchers - that dietary fiber reduces cardiovascular disease risk by helping to lower cholesterol levels. 

Physiologically, what happens is that various types of dietary fiber are able to attach to cholesterol-rich bile in the gastrointestinal tract preventing cholesterol re-absorption into the bloodstream allowing cholesterol to be excreted from the body.  This effect has been well substantiated by countless researchers for many decades.  It's pretty much an undisputed fact that some types of dietary fiber can indeed reduce cholesterol levels.

But is that all there is to say about dietary fiber and heart disease?  Is dietary fiber’s cholesterol-lowering effect solely, or even predominantly responsible for its effects on reducing cardiovascular disease?

Perhaps not.

Slowly, researchers in the medical field are beginning to see that cholesterol levels aren’t necessarily the “end all be all” of cardiovascular risk factors as once thought.  After all, despite what you would be lead to believe by the pervasive advertising of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, approximately half of heart attack patients have normal cholesterol levels and ratios. 

Inflammation - The Fire Within

Thinking researchers and physicians have begun to see that as a risk factor for heart disease, perhaps more important than cholesterol levels, may be a persons’ level of oxidative stress and systemic inflammation. 

Oxidative stress increases as the level of harmful oxidized molecules and free radicals in our body overwhelm our supply of antioxidants.  In a destructive chain reaction, free radicals exert damage on cellular proteins, DNA, and perhaps most frighteningly, the lining of our arteries.  It’s this arterial damage which has been implicated in the development of the arterial plaque of heart disease.

You’ll remember from previous Blog posts and articles on www.IntegratedSupplements.com our warnings against the ingestion of oxidized cholesterol in many powdered foods and whey protein supplements for this very reason.  Oxidized cholesterol, or any oxidized molecule which can do damage to our cells, causes an increase in inflammation, so free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation all go hand in hand.

In particular, serum level of a protein known as C-Reactive Protein, (an inflammatory protein produced by the liver) have been shown to be a very strong predictor of cardiovascular disease; an even better predictor, in fact, than either serum cholesterol levels or cholesterol ratios.

Dietary Fiber and C-Reactive Protein

Having this insight into the role of inflammation in heart disease, researchers using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that intake of dietary fiber was directly related to levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP).  The more fiber the people in this study ate, the lower their level of this harmful inflammatory protein.

http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/134/5/1181

So perhaps the role of dietary fiber in protecting us from heart disease has more to do with fiber's effects on inflammation than on cholesterol levels.

The above study makes it very clear that even people whose cholesterol levels are in the “normal” range can still benefit from this newfound anti-inflammatory effect of a high fiber diet and/or fiber supplementation.  Remember, “normal” cholesterol levels don’t mean that we’re out of the woods with regard to cardiovascular risk – chronic systemic inflammation is the real demon, and all of us who are concerned with our health should aim to reduce it.

Also important is the fact that unlike cholesterol, with CRP, there seems to be no optimal range.  The lower the level of CRP we have in our blood, the better.

But Be Careful Where Your Fiber Comes From

Even as the remarkable health benefits of dietary fiber continue to be uncovered, the average American still consumes less than half of the 25 grams of fiber per day recommended by the FDA. 

And those who do aim to increase their fiber intake often do so with the use of high fiber cereals and supplements which may have serious shortcomings.

Many of the highly processed and sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, for example, while they may brag about the cholesterol-lowering effects of their “whole grains” may actually make inflammation worse because of the high level of sugar and refined carbohydrates which they contain.  Similarly, many “fiber supplements” on the market may also contain more sugar than actual fiber.

Elevated blood sugar is a very common cause of increased inflammation and CRP levels.  Increased inflammation from chronically elevated blood sugar is probably the major reason diabetics are at such high risk for heart disease; and a high intake of sugar may possibly lessen the anti-inflammatory effects of fiber.

And even independent of the sugar which they may contain, some fiber sources (commonly found in dietary supplements and “health foods”) have actually been shown to increase oxidative stress – the exact opposite of what we should be trying to accomplish.

How can you find out which fiber sources to seek out, and which to avoid?

Keep it tuned here.

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