Fiber comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble – and soluble fiber gets very interesting. This fiber absorbs water in the colon and ferments, changing into a gas. Oooo… that could be a problem.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and it appears that it helps our body absorb minerals. Now that’s interesting… and important. You will feel full longer because as soluble fiber absorbs water it turns into a gel that slows digestion. So where do we get this fiber? You can see it in oatmeal. When you add water and cook oatmeal it becomes pasty. The same thing happens with legumes (beans) that are cooked. Other common foods like apples, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes also contain soluble fiber. These are all great foods to eat regularly… well, not if it is going to give me gas!! Hold on… there’s a little something to point out here.
It seems that those of us who eat all plants or mostly plants may develop some gas periodically but the real social issue is not the gas… it’s the odor. Do you remember when we talked about sulfur containing amino acids? (see Study Guide Three, Lesson Four) These amino acids are metabolized (changed chemically and physically in our body) into sulfuric acid. Now that’s what has an odor and we all know what sulfur smells like. Whew! So the question becomes… what is the biggest source of these SCAA? I think you know… it’s an excessive amount of acid foods like meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Plant foods contain considerably fewer SCAA.
What’s interesting is that when you limit or eliminate these foods from your diet the odor is significantly less offensive. That goes for all body odors including, breath, perspiration AND gas. That’s amazing! Yes, and it’s true. I challenge you to try eating fewer SCAA (you know what that is) and do a little personal research yourself. J I can almost guarantee an exciting result.
Soluble fiber will ferment – it helps our digestion and makes us feel full and that’s good. Insoluble fiber does not change – it helps keep us regular and that’s also a good thing. It is not important that we figure out amounts of these fibers to eat. Like all the components of plant foods, if we eat a variety of vegetables, fruits and grains/legumes/potatoes we will get everything we need in the right amounts. Plants are designed for our good health and certainly our enjoyment. They are… delicious!