How Fiber Fights Belly Fat

by Jackie Wicks

Soluble Fiber Is Gut Flora Approved

A final benefit of soluble fiber is the positive effect it has on our gut bacteria and overall gut health. Most soluble fibers are fermentable, meaning they can be digested by our gut bacteria. When we feed our gut bacteria with soluble fiber, we experience two great benefits:

  1. We support our gut bacteria and encourage a healthy population
  2. The fiber gets converted to short-chain fatty acids, the primary fuel for our colonic cells


Our gut bacteria are extremely important, and more and more are being understood to play some incredible, unforeseen roles in our health. As a brief example, researchers have recently begun investigating a link between the gut and our brain called the “gut-brain axis”. This axis appears to demonstrate links between our gut, including the health of our gut flora, and conditions such as depression and anxiety. In short, our gut bacteria play an incredibly important, but still very mysterious role in our health. A diet high in soluble fiber provides them with the fuel they need to be healthy!

The second benefit of feeding our gut bacteria soluble fiber is more easily explained. Short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, are extremely short fats—even shorter than the healthy medium-chain fats found in coconut oil. They are extremely hard to obtain directly from the diet—the sole source which could be considered a “good source” is dairy, and even in dairy they comprise less than 10% of the fat. The best way to get a good supply of gut-healthy SCFAs is to consume ample amounts of soluble fiber.

SCFAs promote gut health in a few ways. They are the primary fuel for our colonic cells, which means that a high-fiber diet is one of the best ways to provide the colon with the energy it needs to do its job optimally and to repair damage. SCFAs also appear to suppress inflammation, protect the colon against damage, reduce oxidative stress, and may even increase satiety (though this benefit is still far from understood).

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