Lose weight by eating more fiber Did you know it’s possible to lose weight by only slightly increasing the amount of fiber you eat? Everyone agrees that including a decent amount of fiber in your diet is a good idea. Fiber in moderate quantities has many benefits for your body including good bowel functions and it helps to reduce cholesterol. Fiber deficiency takes it toll on your bowels with increased risk of: constipation, bloating, hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease are also linked. There are two types of dietary fiber but what effect does each type of fiber have on your body? Insoluble fiber comes from foods such as cabbage leaves, carrots, and beans, and is not absorbed by the body. This means it serves as a natural laxative and can help in keeping good bowel functions. Because it is not absorbed the fiber passes relatively quickly through you digestive system. Insoluble fiber absorbs water and can help you feel full without adding calories. Soluble fiber is found in foods like apples, oats, and rice. It is absorbed by the body and can help lower the amount of cholesterol in your body. When eaten soluble fiber forms gels in the presence of water which swell and make you feel full so you can eat less. How much fiber should you eat? There are many benefits to eating fiber from helping against heart disease to good bowel functions and helping to lower cholesterol but like anything eating too much will cause adverse effects. A healthily adult is recommended to eat 18 grams of fiber a day, roughly equivalent to a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast, an apple for lunch, a pear as a mid afternoon snack, and a serving of carrots and small quantity of baked beans in the evening. There are other sources of fiber such as bran flakes or rice so varying your diet is more than possible. Don’t change your diet rapidly overnight. Like all things in life, gradually change to a healthier lifestyle. By including more fiber in your meals you will feel fuller without adding calories so can eat less and lose weight. How to Add More Fiber to Your Diet Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? Fortunately, incorporating the recommended amount of fiber into your diet doesn’t have to mean eating salads every day, if you follow these steps:
- Figure out how much more fiber you need.
Keep a food diary to record what you eat, and how much of it per day. Look up each food item on the Internet and see how much fiber each one contains. The average American gets 14 grams of fiber a day but here’s what you’re supposed to be getting:
- Men under 50, 38 grams of fiber per day
- Men over 50, 30 grams of fiber per day
- Women under 50, 25 grams of fiber per day
- Women over 50, 21 grams of fiber per day
- Add fiber to your diet slowly.
If you are currently getting 10 grams of fiber a day, don’t jump to 35 grams of fiber the next day. You need to give the natural bacteria in your digestive system time to adapt to your new fiber intake. What you’ll want to do is make the following changes over at least a few weeks.
- Start with breakfast.
If you can get a fiber-packed breakfast routine going, you can probably add a solid 5-10 grams of fiber to your daily diet.
- Eat a cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
- If you have a favorite cereal you just can’t let go of, add few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran or mix it with a high fiber cereal.
- If you like to eat toast in the morning, make it whole wheat bread. Alternatively, there are brands of bread and English muffins that have 5 or more grams of fiber per slice.
- Bake muffins that incorporate crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran.
- Add fruits like berries, raisins, or bananas to your cereal (or over your pancakes or waffles) to increase your fiber by 1-2 grams.
- Leave the skin on.
Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet will add fiber, but only if you eat the skin, because that’s where all the fiber is. So don’t peel those apples before you eat them. If you’re eating potatoes, try to leave the skin in the dish (such as if making baked or mashed potatoes).
It’s also worth knowing that keeping the skin on potatoes when you cook them will help keep more vitamins and minerals in the flesh. Just don’t eat any parts of skin that are green.
- Eat whole grains.
Not only will this offer the health benefits of added fiber, but it can also help you lose belly fat. A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in your body, which hastens the melting of fat, and visceral fat (that deep layer of fat), is easier for your body to burn than the subcutaneous fat under your skin.
- Eat more beans.
Beans are generally very high in fiber, as well as in protein (which is good for if you’re building muscle).
- Add them to soup or salads.
- Eat more Mexican food! Many Mexican dishes incorporate beans: burritos, enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas and nachos.
- Make chili.
- Eat hummus.