My Weight Loss Focus is on Measuring the Amount of Fiber I Eat

16756417_5d66bb99e2_zI believe learning about fiber and increasing it in your diet is the best thing you can do to increase weight loss. I try to eat 30-35 grams every day. Two charts showing the fiber in most common foods from (1) Mayo Clinic and (2) Mount Sinai.

Two current articles agree with me.

(1) From Huff Post writer, Anna Almendrala: “How a Single, Simple Guideline Could Help You Lose Weight“:

For some super-motivated people, counting calories, calculating macronutrient proportions or weighing food can help in their quest to lose weight. But for everyone else, it can be hard to keep juggling the cups and weighing scales and calculators for too long. If you fall into the latter category, researchers say that there’s only one thing to keep in mind: Eat more fiber.

When compared to the American Heart Association’s dietary recommendations, which include several common-sense pieces of advice like “Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt” and “Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars,” the simple advice to eat 30 grams of fiber a day resulted in almost as much weight loss as the AHA’s guidelines over the course of the year. The study was published online Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The finding could be a boon for people who need to lose weight for medical reasons but feel too overwhelmed to completely overhaul their lifestyle all at once, explained lead researcher Dr. Yunsheng Ma, M.D., Ph.D. in the study. Foods that are high in fiber (meaning indigestible dietary fiber found in plant-based foods) help make you feel full for longer. Ma also proposed that high-fiber diets increase the need to chew,which in turn reduces hunger. Encouraging people to eat more fiber is also a shorthand way to point to foods that are healthiest for us, wrote Ma.

“Our simple message of increasing fiber includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also whole grain foods, legumes, and nuts,” wrote Ma in an email to HuffPost Healthy Living, adding that these foods also tend to be less expensive than low-fiber foods, like meat and dairy.

A medium-sized apple has about 4.4 grams of fiber and one cup of dark leafy greens like swiss chard also has about four grams. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should eat 38, but Americans only eat an average of 15 grams per day, according to the Mayo Clinic.

(2) From SFGate, Erica Kannall writes: “Can Eating Large Quantities of Fiber Help You Lose Weight?”:

Feeling Full

Feeling hungry can be major challenge when attempting to lose weight. But, eating more fiber can help you feel full longer and keep hunger at bay. Soluble fiber found in oats, nuts, beans and some fruits and vegetables absorbs water and forms a gel-like mass during digestion. This slows down the digestive process thus helping you to feel full for longer after eating. As an added bonus, the National Institute of Health says soluble fiber is helpful for reducing cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

Low Calorie

Since fiber is indigestible by the body, it passes through the digestive tract almost unaltered. It is very low in calories. For this reason, the Mayo Clinic says that foods that are high in fiber are less energy dense than foods that are low in the fiber. In other words, for the same volume of food, the high-fiber food has fewer calories. So go ahead and feel free to eat more high fiber food to keep you feeling full without adding extra calories to your diet.

Precautions with Fiber

While eating adequate fiber helps to maintain health and aids weight loss, too much can cause gas, bloating, cramps and mineral deficiencies. If you have rapidly increased the amount of fiber you’re eating, over time the uncomfortable digestive side effects will diminish. It is important to increase more fiber into your daily diet gradually and drink plenty of water to prevent constipation. Also, stick with the recommended daily amounts of fiber. If you consistently eat more, it could lead to deficiencies of minerals such calcium, zinc and iron because of absorption difficulties

Photo credit.

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