Another significant benefit of the ketogenic diet is that you avoid the big spikes in blood glucose levels caused by excessive carbohydrate consumption. Because some of the benefits of eating dietary fiber come from improved glycemic control, your fiber needs may be further reduced on the keto diet since your glycemic control comes from eating very few carbs.
But do you need that much fiber to stay healthy? Perhaps not. Several different large reviews of dozens of studies have found that eating more fiber than the average person can reduce your risk of dying from both heart disease and cancer by at least 10%[*][*][*]. The benefits of eating fiber in these studies occurred with a total daily fiber intake between 18-26 grams, much lower than the USDA and NAS recommendations.
Walk around any fitness expo, or even down the “snack bar” aisle of a grocery store, and you are bound to see many varieties of low carb, high protein bars, cookies, candies, and everything in between. Protein bars are in the mainstream right now, and they seem to be everywhere, from the local grocery store to the airport, and even gas stations. Companies have mastered the ability to create something that is pleasing to both the eye and the pallet (i.e., flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough, birthday cake, chocolate brownie, peanut butter, etc.), yet provides ample protein while “low” in carbohydrates. If you attend any fitness or food-related expo, you are very aware that the booths with the longest lines are the ones that are sampling their latest protein bars or “high protein, low carb” treats (cookies, brownies, ice creams, etc.). Nonetheless, in a red ocean market (i.e., market ran by competing industries) that is flooded with these “healthier and high-protein” alternatives, what truly separates one product from another?
Taken together, the above studies prompt the question: What is the prebiotic activity of SCF? If it is a true fiber, per our definitions above, then SCF should have a beneficial effect on gut microbiome bacteria. A study performed in 24 adolescents noted an increase in beneficial bacteria (e.g., Bacteroides, Butyricicoccus, Oscillibacter, and Dialister). Furthermore, this was correlated with an increase in calcium absorption upon the consumption of 12 grams of SCF per day for three weeks. An additional study, which administered 8, 14, and 21 grams of SCF over 14 days, found that good bacteria (e.g., Bifidobacteria) increased and peaked at 8 grams per day. This value is nearly identical to inulin, which is considered the “gold standard.” Despite its nearly parallel effects to inulin at 8 grams/day, research has demonstrated that SCF is 3-4 times more tolerable than inulin due to its slower rate of digestibility by the gut bacteria. In fact, 26 grams of SCF barely increased GI symptoms relative to a placebo!
To figure out the correct amount of fiber for your body, try experimenting. If you’re on the keto diet, start with 15-20 grams of total dietary fiber per day from a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber for several weeks, then consider adding 3-5 grams at a time as needed to see how you feel. Remember that some people actually feel worse when they boost their fiber intake[*][*][*].
Psyllium husk is a type of fiber commonly used as a gentle, bulk-forming laxative. With no net carbs and a whopping 7 grams of fiber per two tablespoon serving, ground psyllium is an easy way to increase fiber intake on the keto diet. “It works great as a binding agent in recipes,” Yule says. “Just make sure to consume it with plenty of water, coconut water, or juice to avoid dehydration.” Add a tablespoon to your beverage, and you’re good to go.
"Once you have a kitchen, you have control over what you purchase and what you eat," Addison Johnson wrote on Dietingwell. "An added benefit of this style of travel, other than the fact that you can stick to your keto diet effectively, is that you get to experience the local side of life. Going to grocery stores, choosing from local ingredients, and cooking for yourself will help make you feel like you’re a part of the culture, instead of only a visitor."
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