Happiness in fiber


Pretty much every health professional will tell you to eat more fiber. Not only does the fiber from fruits and vegetables fill you up without providing many calories, it is also:

While fiber’s role in helping with weight loss may be a more immediate benefit, the majority of the benefits don’t really become apparent for decades. It’s one of the reasons why people still don’t listen to the advice to add more fiber into their diets. If we can’t feel the benefits from it right away (or the harms from not eating it), then does it really matter?

An improved diet improves happiness

Some interesting new research from the University of Warwick sheds light on another short-term benefit that should make you consider increasing the amount of fiber you eat. The study followed over 12,000 people to assess if increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets could improve their psychological well-being. Not surprisingly, they found that happiness increased incrementally for each additional serving of fruits or vegetables per day. They concluded that the increase in life satisfaction for people that went from virtually no fruits or vegetables to 8 servings per day was the equivalent of going from unemployment to employment. They said the effects of this change in diet occurred within a 2 year timeframe.

I’m actually surprised it took that long. I chock it up to the researchers trying not to be too enthusiastic with their findings (the study isn’t published yet, so I haven’t been able to dig into it thoroughly). As I said in the article about our 3 Day Cleanse Meal Plan, most people are surprised by how much better they feel after ditching the processed food and effectively going on a fruit and vegetable boot camp for three days. Processed foods not only make you feel physically lousy, but they can contribute to depression and other mood disorders.


What is a serving?

Eight servings probably sounds like a lot (and it is), but increasing your fiber intake by any amount will help. My typical advice still stands, consider all vegetables and many whole fruits like apples, berries, and slightly green bananas to be free calories. The benefits they provide for gastric emptying and blood sugar control will fill you up long before you can overdo it. If you want to get a visual idea of what a serving looks like, you can see some examples here for fruits and vegetables.

How does it work?

The researchers at the University of Warwick believed the happiness improvements may come from increased consumption of antioxidants known as carotenoids. Previous research has demonstrated an interesting correlation between the levels of carotenoids in the bloodstream and the person’s level of optimism, but not all fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids. What they all do have in common is fiber, and strengthening your microbiome with fiber has definitely been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. A large percentage of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are actually manufactured by the bacteria in your gut. As I mentioned in the microbiome article, these trillions of organisms want to keep their home (you) happy so you can go out and get them more food. A happy host is also more likely to interact with other people which then gives them the opportunity to spread to new places. It’s a fascinating relationship but the end result is that if you keep the bacteria in your gut happy by feeding them the fiber they need, they will not only keep you healthy but happy as well.

Mika V

This is really great. Thanks Chris.

I switched from a whey protein supplement to a high-fiber hemp protein and I definitely feel the benefits of the added fiber in my diet. I stay satiated longer and my sugar cravings are reduced substantially when I start the day off with the hemp.

Leave a comment

Log in to post a comment

Welcome Diet weight loss Supplements Food Food Tips Tracking Exercise HIIT App Focus lolo Connect Meal Plan Fun Fact Stretching Rehab Truth About Diets Workout Health Sugar Cardio Strength Training Walking Running Treadmill Elliptical Cycling Removing Obstacles meal tracking Paleo Primal Crossfit Hydration Fueling Workouts Muscle Building Event Training Nutrition self-defense Immune System New Year's Success Clean Protein weather Calorie Counting Artificial Sweeteners Sugar Free music motivation deep house new music wednesday Tabata medical conditions diabetes workout music electro anthems fitness workouts stadium jamz bpm pace songs beat-sync Tempo run lolo run house music edm pop High-Fructose Corn Syrup hardstyle Packaging Salt High Blood Pressure Hypertension Scale Protein Muscle Weight Obesity Soybean Oil Coconut Oil Fructose Soda energy boost fat burner Nausea High Intensity Counting Calories Fat Shaming Meals GO Sitting Weight Gain Alcohol Low Carb Salad Fat Fat-Burning Glycogen Athletic Performance Ketogenic Diet Holiday Tips Stubborn Fat Thermogenesis Brown Fat Diet Tips Vegetables Fruit Healthy Fats Quick Start Endurance Psychology Healthy Eating Whole Foods Saturated Fat Calories Fish Omega 3 Healthy Bacteria Microbiome Disease Cholesterol Sleep Meal Plans Cleanse Sport Race Training Performance Late Night Biggest Loser Leptin Weight Regain Lactate Brain Injury High Intensity Interval Training Rest Recovery weight lifting Calcium Magnesium Vitamin K2 omega-3 corn syrup Fish Oil Bryan Haycock Antibiotics micronutrients muscle cramps Fasting Eating at Night Autophagy Glycemic Index Breakfast Fiber BeatBurn Warm Up Cool Down Soreness Foam Roller Metabolism Jeff Galloway Race Meal Planning Insulin Healthy Food Knee Pain Rehab Knees Rehab Injury Healthy Bacteria Good Bacteria Appetite Overeating Cruciferous Vegetables Sulforaphane Cancer Heart Disease Cold Thermogenesis Appetite Supressing Energy Mitochondria Fasted Training Sleep Low Epigenetics Water Pain Adenosine Caffeine time restricted eating intermittent fasting aerobic fitness Boosters Heat training hormesis aerobic Sunburns UV Protection DNA Repair Depression Anxiety Stride Length Injury Safety Walnut Pain Relief NSAID Curcumin Willpower Fad Fast Food Time-Restricted Eating Addiction Night Eating Alkaline Water Acidosis Bone Osteoporosis Arthritis Cruciferous Grilling Carcinogen Brain Tryptophan 7 Minute Workout Interval Training Carnivore Diet Meat Smell Olfactory Reward