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Dietary fibre - Are you getting enough?

Under Australian labeling laws, dietary fibre is considered a carbohydrate - but a carbohydrate with a difference. Unlike standard carb's like sugar or starch, dietary fibre is resistant to digestion and will pass through your body without yielding any energy. That means that fibre does not affect your blood sugar levels, your insulin levels, and can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.

Fibre's role in our body.

Fibre tends to slow down the rate of digestion of food, leading to a more gradual emptying of the food from the stomach into the small intestine. This slows the amount of glucose being absorbed by the blood and therefore lowers insulin levels.

Because fibre passes through your body largely undigested, it helps to keep your bowels regular. A low intake of fibre is a major cause of constipation.

Lack of fibre may also contribute to a higher incidence of bowel and rectal cancer, obesity, high blood cholesterol and some types of heart disease.

High fibre foods tend to make you feel satisfied for longer after a meal, meaning you tend to eat smaller amounts, and don't crave sugary treats between meals.

Unfortunately, the supermarket shelves are stacked with products that are very low in dietary fibre. Consequently, most Australians aren't getting anywhere near enough fibre in their diet. According to Nutrition Australia, Australian adults should aim to eat around 30 grams of fibre every day - are you getting enough?