Fiber is considered an essential nutrient and bodybuilding nutrition should include the consumption of high fiber foods in order to maintain the overall health of the body.
Fiber is a kind of cellular material that is derived from plant sources. In strict biochemical terms, it is a carbohydrate and is composed of non-starchy polysaccharides such as cellulose and many other plant components such as dextrins, inulin, lignin, waxes, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans and oligosaccharides, which are highly resistant to breakdown due to digestion within the human digestive tract.
Dietary fiber can be categorized as either water-soluble fiber or as water-insoluble fiber. While water-soluble fiber (such as gums, mucilages and pectins present in foods such as dry beans, peas, oat bran, fruit and vegetables) tends to slow down the passage of food through the intestine by forming a gel like substance, it fails to increase the fecal bulk. On the other hand, water-insoluble fibers (such as cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin, present in foods such as whole wheat, wheat and corn bran, flax seed lignans, fruits such as plums and prunes and vegetables such as celery, green beans and potato skins) increase the fecal bulk thereby facilitating speedy passage of food through the digestive tract.
A high fiber diet is very beneficial for people who wish to lose weight because fiber does not contribute any calories at all while and at the same time, it tends to absorb a lot of water, thereby making you feel full without pumping yourself with too much of food. Moreover, fiber allows a gradual release of sugars into the bloodstream, thereby aiding in regulating blood sugar levels as well as in preventing fat storage, which is commonly associated with insulin spikes. It is very beneficial for bodybuilders because it relieves them of problems such as bloating and constipation (which is very common with their high protein high calorie diet) by inducing regular bowel movements. It is also known to prevent heart disease (controls cholesterol levels), colon cancer (flushing away toxins) and breast cancer.
Bodybuilders need not supplement their diet with fiber. Instead, they can eat high-fiber foods including beans, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and whole grain breads. Fruits and leafy vegetables are excellent fiber sources in addition to being rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), most adults currently consume less than 15gms of fiber on a daily basis. ADA recommends that people should recognize the benefits of fiber and increase their daily fiber intake to about 10 to 14 grams of fiber per every 1000 calories, which amounts to 35 gms of fiber in case your daily intake is 2500 calories.
High fiber diet must also be accompanied by a higher water intake so that the fiber mobility within the digestive tract does not get sluggish.
Over consumption of fiber is neither healthy, nor safe and can interfere with your body’s absorption of zinc, iron and other minerals, in addition to causing diarrhea and bloating.