FIBER: DOES IT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT? QUICK GUIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

When it comes to talking about nutrients that are a must for a healthy body, fiber is almost always part of the conversation. However, fiber is not always well understood. Most people find it quite confusing to define fiber, recognize the types of fiber and the foods that contain each type, and know how much is needed to reap the benefits.

In extremely simple terms, fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body. Fiber is categorized as either insoluble or soluble depending on whether or not the fiber dissolves in liquids. Insoluble and soluble fibers are often found in the same foods, but can play very different roles in supporting good health.

Here is a quick guide on what fiber can do for you and how to add this valuable nutrient into your diet for great health and successful weight loss efforts:

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THE DEFINITION

Insoluble Fiber:

This is the type of fiber you often associate as roughage or bulking agents. Insoluble fiber is usually found in the skins of foods and the seeds of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. This fiber doesn’t dissolve in water nor does it break down in the gut. It adds bulk to your digestive tract, which can help keep you regular.

Soluble Fiber:

This type of fiber is soft and absorbs water to form a gel-like substance inside your digestive tract. Soluble fiber is usually found in foods like oats, beans, fruits and avocados. Soluble fiber can have major effects on your health, metabolism and weight loss.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS

Good Bacteria:

You want lots of good bacteria in your gut! It is estimated that you have around 100 trillion bacteria species (gut flora) living in your large intestine. This bacteria plays such an important role in your health, blood sugar levels, brain function, immunity and weight. The healthier you eat, the more good bacteria you are likely to have. Good bacteria need fiber (mostly soluble) to thrive!

Fights Inflammation:

The correlation between inflammation and disease, as well as between inflammation and obesity, is high. Long-term inflammation can play a major role in almost every chronic Western disease. Inflammation has been shown to be a driver of obesity, hormone levels and weight gain. Fiber can help battle inflammation!

Keeps you regular:

Insoluble fiber bulks up your stool and acts like a broom, sweeping through you to ensure that you get everything out and keep things moving along as they should. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance that helps your stool pass easily through your body. Fiber is key for a healthy and regular digestive system.

THE WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS:

Reduces Appetite:

In order to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you burn. Appetite reduction helps you take in fewer calories and fiber can help you feel fuller so that you eat less. Soluble fiber with high viscosity provides a greater feeling of fullness than a soluble fiber with less viscosity and is more likely to reduce your appetite and overall calorie intake. Viscosity is the thickness of a liquid i.e. honey has more viscosity than water. Viscose fiber increases the time it takes to digest foods because of its thickness moving through the digestive tract. The end result is a longer feeling of fullness. Soluble fiber is a viscous fiber.

THE FIBER FOODS

Foods High in Insoluble Fiber:

  • Whole grains: Top: Wheat Bran

  • Beans (Legumes): Top: Kidney Beans

  • Fruits: Top: Raspberries

  • Vegetable (with their skins on): Top: Steamed Turnips, Okra or Green Peas

Foods High in Soluble Fiber & Viscosity       

  • Fruits and (with their skins on): Top: Pears

  • Vegetable (with their skins on): Top: Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes

  • Grains: Top: Oats and Bran

  • Beans (Legumes): Top: Lentils

  • Nuts: Top: Dry Roasted Peanuts     

THE AMOUNTS

The American Heart Association recommends that the daily value for fiber is around 25 grams for adults every single day.

A General Guideline:  

  • Women under 50: ~25 grams/day

  • Women over 50: ~21 grams/day

  • Men under 50: ~38 grams/day

  • Men over 50: ~30 grams/day

  • Children ages 1-18: 4-31 grams/day

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should consume about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. Calorie needs vary by your height, weight and activity level so adjust your fiber accordingly.  

THE SIDE EFFECTS

Fiber is also known as “roughage,” and it can definitely get plenty of attention as it passes through the stomach and intestines. If you eat more than 70 grams a day, your body will begin to tell you to eat less fiber. Fiber can actually bind to important minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc and prevent your system from absorbing these nutrients.

Signs and Symptoms You Have Too Much Of A Good Thing:

  • Bloating

  • Gas

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal Pain

Fiber Fabulous:

As long as you make sure to eat a fresh, whole food diet, drink lots of water and add include the foods on this list into your diet, you should be getting plenty of fiber. Add fiber into your diet slowly so you don’t put your body into bulk overload. Fiber is king when it comes to a strong and healthy digestive system, so eat smart and fiber up.

Karina HeinrichComment