Fiber and Weight Loss: What You Should Know

July 7, 2014

high-fiber dietFiber???you know it’s good for you, but do you know why? It’s one of those nutrients you see advertised in big, bold writing on cereal boxes, but cereal isn’t the only way to get your dose of fiber. A high-fiber diet can play a big role in helping you lose weight. Learn why and how you can incorporate more of the nutrient into your diet.

What is it?

Fiber is carbohydrates that can’t be digested. Because your body can’t absorb fiber, it simply passes through your body, keeping food moving efficiently. ??This is why you look to fiber to relieve constipation. Fiber is found mostly in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

Types of Fiber

There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, slowing digestion but, in turn, keeps you feeling full by occupying more space in your stomach. So, when hunger pangs strike, eating a high-fiber snack will fill you up without falling victim to a calorie bomb.?? Soluble fiber also helps regulate your sugar levels, which lowers cholesterol and helps prevent diabetes. Oats, beans, peas, citrus fruits, and apples are high in soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber helps food move efficiently through your digestion system, preventing constipation. Whole grains, nuts, beans, potatoes, and green, leafy vegetables are high in insoluble fiber.

Fiber and Weight Loss

The biggest role fiber plays in your weight loss plan is regulating hunger. A study published in Nature found fibrous foods stimulate the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates appetite. Mice that were given a high-fiber supplement ate less food and ended up weighing less than the mice that weren’t fed the fibrous supplement.

Incorporating More Fiber into Your Diet

Women need 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams. Kick-start your day with a high-fiber breakfast. Studies show the majority of dieters who keep weight off start their day with a hearty breakfast. A veggie scramble, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, or yogurt mixed with fruit will keep you full until lunch. Not hungry in the morning? That’s OK. Make sure you incorporate fiber into your lunch. Pack a veggie burrito with black beans or a serving of fruit to complement a turkey sandwich.

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