Monday, November 12, 2012

Battle of the Bulge: One Fiber to Rule Them All

Before I purchase any boxed, canned, or bagged food, I check out the nutritional facts. Along with serving size, calorie count, fat calories, and sodium percentage, I scan the fiber amount. 

Fiber comes in two forms; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in the stomach, forming into filling gel that keeps cravings in check. Slower digestion means balanced sugar levels which staves off a number of diseases; soluble fiber also lowers bad cholesterol by binding with bile acids and removing fat from the blood, also reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. 

Insoluble fat is what keeps one "regular," binding with waste in the lower digestive tracts and removing it from the body. That discourages colon cancer, among other things.

How much fiber does one need? About 14g per 1,000 calories. That doesn't leave much wiggle room. 

I don't touch white flour anymore, since: What is glue? White flour and water. Glue in the stomach is not great for digestion, nor for feeling energized.

Looking at nutritional facts of my favorite flours and cereals, I have noticed that in most cases the majority of fiber is insoluble, which, while of course providing a wonderful service, is not the version which keeps one full and away from the fridge. 

So I did a little research to see what has the most soluble fiber. And I was told: Oat bran. 

Oat bran, eh? 

Quaker Hot Cereal Oat Ban: 1/2 cup of oat bran has 6 grams of fiber, 3g soluble, 3g insoluble (oatmeal, even old-fashioned, has at most 2 grams of soluble.) 

It takes very quick to cook—about a minute or two—which is faster than the old-fashioned oatmeal (about five minutes). And 1/2 cup, which is one serving, comes out to a lot. A brimming bowlful!
Not only that, the consistency was lovely—like farina. Smooth, and slides right down. Perfect with a drizzle of grade A maple syrup.  

And was I full? Oh yes. Due to logistics of the day I never ended up having lunch (not a situation where I usually find myself) so I went from 8 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. with nothing but oat bran glued to my ribs. 

The oat bran hot cereal from Bob's Red Mill has the same wonderful 3 grams of soluble fiber in 1/3 cup; you get more for less. And 1/3 of a cup still makes a whopping amount. 

Since it is so finely ground, I throw some into my food all the time. Into a soup, for instance, as a thickener. Into cheese latkes. To bind fish patties. For a pizza crust. Or to coat shnitzel. 

What I couldn't understand is why I never heard of this before. TV health gurus are always yammering about oatmeal, but never mention oat bran. I tried searching for any negative effects, but couldn't find any except that oat bran used to be the primary ingredient in livestock feed, so it wasn't considered appetizing for human consumption. 

Well, I always was an animal lover.


tesyaa said...

In the early 90s oat bran was THE health rage. Everyone was yammering about it, so to speak. I guess it's back.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Aye, oats! A fine food for English horses and Scottish men.

Okay, reality check - you need 30 gm of fibre a day, the majority of which should be insoluble because you want the shorter transit (gum to bum) time for what you eat. Soluble fibre's ability to control blood glucose is overrated. Get the food in and out fast.

So yes, a good bowl of oatmeal in the morning is fine but you need to add two heaping tablespoons of ground/milled flax seed and a heaping tablespoon of Benefibre or Fibresure to the oats before you add the hot water.

You must each lunch. It's essential to not go several hours without carbs in one form or another.

Princess Lea said...

Tesyaa: When you said 90s I had a vision of Britney Spears singing about oat bran . . .

MGI: I kinna the good of insoluble, neever ye be afeared, me lad. Where thar be soluble, thar is insoluble.

Och, laddie, to be full ye need soluble. I eat vegetables an' fruit enough for the rest of me needs. As for the flaxseed, already in me fridge.

O'course I eat lunch! Oonly on that day did I stray, since I was awee from haim. Neever did that agin.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Also i hear your avatar is excited about the possibility of Star Wars VII in 2015. Of course, it could be because she hasn't worked much since Star Wars VI....

Princess Lea said...

I dunno . . . Carrie Fisher looks kinda glued together to me . . .