Lose Fat with Fibers

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate found in the cell walls of all plant-based foods. While the body converts other carbohydrates such as starch into simple sugars for energy, it’s not able to fully break down fiber. Fiber actually passes through most of your body’s digestive system undigested until it reaches the large intestine, or colon. Depending on its function in the digestive system, fiber can be soluble, insoluble,or prebiotic, and is found in these categories of plant-based foods:
  1. Fruit
  2. Vegetables
  3. Whole grains
  4. Legumes
  5. Nuts and Seeds

A high fiber diet packs many impressive health benefits. Eating more fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full and reducing the chance of overeating. Adding more fiber to your diet can help lower cholesterol, which may prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. High fiber foods may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and promote a healthy gut by helping waste to pass through your digestive system efficiently.

Fiber comes in two varieties: insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It is the bulky fiber that helps to prevent constipation, and is found in whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps control blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. Good sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.
Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber. There is no fiber in meat, dairy, or sugar. Refined or white foods, such as white bread, white rice, and pastries, have had all or most of their fiber removed.

The health benefits of fiber

The latest figures show that nine out of ten Americans are not eating enough fiber; and people in other parts of the world are also falling well short. Part of the problem may be due to the association between fiber and bathroom habits. Yes, fiber offers a healthy and effective way to stay regular. But that’s not the only reason why we should be including more in our diets. Many different studies have highlighted how eating a diet high in fiber can boost your immune system and overall health, and improve how you look and feel. Some of the benefits include:
Digestive health. Let’s get this one out of the way first. Dietary fiber normalizes bowel movements by bulking up stools and making them easier to pass. This can help relieve and prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Eating plenty of fiber can also reduce your risk for diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, and provide some relief for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some studies have also indicated that a high-fiber diet may help to lower gastric acid and reduce your risk for gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and ulcers.
Diabetes. A diet high in fiber—particularly insoluble fiber from cereals—can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and improve your blood sugar levels.
Cancer. There is some research that suggests eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent colorectal cancer, although the evidence is not yet conclusive. Diets rich in high-fiber foods are also linked to a lower risk for other common digestive system cancers, including stomach, mouth, and pharynx.
Skin health. When yeast and fungus are excreted through the skin, they can trigger outbreaks or acne. Eating fiber, especially psyllium husk (a type of plant seed), can flush toxins out of your body, improving the health and appearance of your skin.
Heart health. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is an important element of any heart-healthy diet. Eating a diet high in fiber can improve cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. A high fiber intake can also reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Fiber can also help to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and shed excess weight around the abdomen.

Fiber and weight loss

As well as aiding digestion and preventing constipation, fiber adds bulk to your diet, a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding bulk can help you feel full sooner. Since fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, that feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you to eat less. High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories, so by adding fiber to your diet, it’s easier to cut calories. There are other ways that a high fiber intake can aid weight loss:
  1. By regulating your blood sugar levels, fiber can help maintain your body’s fat-burning capacity and avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods.
  2. Eating plenty of fiber can move fat through your digestive system at a faster rate so that less of it can be absorbed.
  3. When you fill up on high-fiber foods such as fruit, you’ll also have more energy for exercising.
By regulating your blood sugar levels, it can help maintain your body’s fat-burning capacity and avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods. Eating plenty of fiber can also move fat through your digestive system at a faster rate so that less of it can be absorbed. And when you fill up on high-fiber foods such as fruit, you’ll also have more energy for exercising.

What is a High Fiber Diet?
Fiber is only found in plant-based foods, you should naturally find yourself eating less meat on a high fiber diet. Additionally, many of the best fiber sources are whole (or minimally-processed), nutrient-dense foods. A high fiber diet also promotes healthier eating patterns overall. High fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can take longer to chew than other foods and will help keep you full longer. Add more fiber-rich foods into your diet to help you eat slower, savor your meals, and prevent overeating. It should take only a couple of weeks for your body to adjust to a higher intake of fiber, and once it does you will be able to experience its many benefits.
To get the most benefits from a high fiber diet, you should be consuming a variety of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds over the course of the day.

High Fiber Fruits
Skin-on fruits, such as apples and pears, tend to have higher amounts of insoluble fiber, while softer varieties, such as raspberries and bananas, are higher in soluble fiber. Fruit juice is not a good source of fiber, as it’s usually made without the peel or pulp. One cup of orange juice contains 0.5 grams of fiber, while 1 medium orange packs about 3 grams. Fruit is also a valuable source for antioxidants, potassium, folate, and key vitamins and minerals. Here are several (of many) high fiber fruits:
  1. Apples
  2. Oranges
  3. Bananas
  4. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  5. Mangoes 

High Fiber Vegetables

Like fruits, vegetables are also a low-calorie fiber source and should be consumed with the skin on when possible. Comparatively, ½ cup of mashed potatoes has 1.6 grams of fiber, while a small baked potato has 3.2 grams (over twice as much!). Vegetables also contain many of the same health perks as fruits, packing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. See below for a list of high fiber vegetables:

  1. Artichokes
  2. Brussels sprouts
  3. Broccoli
  4. Collard greens, kale, beet greens, Swiss chard
  5. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery root, beets

High Fiber Grains

Always choose whole grains over refined to make sure you are getting the most fiber. Incorporating more whole grain foods, which are often calorie-dense, onto your plate can help prevent overeating. Wheat bran contains about 12 grams per ½ cup serving, and is often added to cereals, breads, and baked goods to boost fiber. You can also purchase wheat bran (also called millers bran) whole and sprinkle it over yogurt and salads. Additionally, whole grains can provide selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. Examples of high fiber grains include:
  1. Whole grain bread or English muffin
  2. Sprouted grain bread
  3. Wheat bran cereal
  4. Quinoa, barley

Fiber supplements

Best way to get fiber in your diet is from foods naturally rich in fiber—fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts. When that proves difficult, taking a fiber supplement can help make up the shortfall. Supplements can also be useful to top up your daily fiber intake while you transition to a high-fiber diet.

Fiber supplements come in a variety of forms, including powders you dissolve in water or add to food, chew able tablets, and wafers. However, there are some drawbacks to getting your fiber from supplements instead of fiber-rich foods:
  1. Fiber supplements will not provide the same vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients offered by high-fiber foods.
  2. Supplements will not fill you up or help you manage your weight.
  3. Fiber supplements can interact with some medications, including certain antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, and the anti coagulation drug warfarin. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about potential drug interactions before taking a fiber supplement.
  4. If you have diabetes, fiber supplements may also reduce your blood sugar levels so, again, check with your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your diet.
If you decide to take a fiber supplement, start with small amounts and gradually build up to avoid any abdominal bloating and gas, and drink plenty of fluids.

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  1. This is so helpful,Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Detailed and useful information...

  3. love all these information!

  4. Good to know about fibres and it's benefits

  5. I always enjoy reading your content ,they are so informative ,thanks for making time to write so much detail . It actually makes the concept clear about many food 🙌

  6. Fiber plays very important role in diet.. you explained it very well...👍👍

  7. Amazing article and very helpful information