Saturday, April 19, 2014
Fun facts about fiber

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I always hear we should increase our fiber intake. What I'm not to sure of is what are the right fiber foods? You see people in T.V. commercials say to eat fiber, but they never clearly say which kinds. Sometimes I see fiber drinks for sale, but not the foods. Please help.

-- Fiber-lacking

Dear Fiber-lacking:

I agree with you. A bit more information would be extremely useful to folks who simply wish to be healthy. Let's look at what fiber is. Simply stated, fiber is a form of sugar. How about that! You didn't see that coming, did you? That is correct, sugar. Relax, before you freak out, allow me to explain.

Fiber is many, many molecules of glucose stuck together in long chains. You recall that glucose is a type of sugar, right? That may send you all the way back to high school biology. No matter.

These long chains of glucose that form fiber cannot be broken down in human's intestines. We lack the enzymes necessary to break down the chains into glucose or sugar. Thus, fiber does not raise the insulin response to it. This is important stuff. What does this mean to you? Less insulin response means less of a possibility for you to become fat. Nice, right?

It also gives you more bang for the buck. You can eat much more high-fiber foods and fill up on them. Feeling full after eating is good. You won't have the tendency to overeat. It would be wise to select these higher fiber foods: cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, asparagus, green beans, mushrooms (a fungus), radishes, leafy greens, squash and celery.

These foods allow you to eat a large volume of food and not suffer the consequences of gaining weight. These foods are also healthy because of the vitamins and mineral content. These foods have been shown to protect the body from certain cancers. I believe the term is cruciferous vegetables. Eat these and try to protect oneself. That's a good idea.

Other forms of fiber are oatmeal, fruits (like apples), legumes (like beans), and grains. These forms of fiber have long chains of glucose, but not as long as the ones I described earlier. Some of the chains can be unlinked by the body to get at the glucose. Something to remember when selecting what fiber to eat.

The amount of these foods you can eat are less then what the other list of fibers provide. Try to eat more fiber in the diet and I think you will be rewarded in the health department and weight loss effort. Good luck!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, a.k.a. "Mr. Fitness," has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he opened the first personal training studio way back in 1985. He has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at:, Facebook us, and stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.