Fiber has been a recent discussion topic here because of its many benefits, and Betsy’s Fiber and Weight Loss article rings true to blogger, Felicia Baratz. As someone with personal experience experimenting with fiber diets, she’d like to add today’s article to the discussion.
In theory, weight loss is pretty simple. Eat fewer calories, exercise a little more and you’ll lose weight.
But those of us who struggle with losing weight or preventing weight gain know that it’s not easy to choose a diet, much less follow one for a long time. Consulting a medical professional with expertise in nutrition and intestinal health saves you time you might waste trying out a method that’s not right for your own needs.
If you’re looking for a natural weight loss aid, fiber may be your best option. A high-fiber diet can not only promote weight loss and help you keep the weight off, and it has additional potential health benefits. Dietary fiber can help prevent or manage some chronic diseases, and it is especially well-known for its role in digestive and gastrointestinal health.
Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet for Weight Loss
- It does not require supplements or weight loss pills. Rather than being a supplement or weight loss pill, dietary fiber is a nutrient. It is a carbohydrate in plant-based foods, but it does not provide calories because your body cannot digest it.
- It encourages healthy eating. Fiber is in nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. It is not in animal-derived foods, like butter, meat and cheese, which are high in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.
- It helps suppress hunger. Many diets fail because they make you feel hungry and deprived, so you eventually binge to satisfy your hunger. Fiber is harder to chew so you eat more slowly and fill up before you eat too many calories.
- It can help you keep the weight off. A high-fiber diet is a way of life, not a fad diet that ends when you reach your goal weight.
Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet for Your Health
- It lowers your cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
- It helps control your blood sugar to manage or prevent diabetes.
- It prevents constipation because dietary fiber has a laxative effect.
- Fiber may reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
- It can help prevent painful irritable bowel diseases such as diverticulitis, and it can also help prevent hemorrhoids.
Goal Intake and Cautions:
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that healthy adults get at least 14 grams of dietary fiber for each 1,000 calories that you eat. If you are on a 1,500-calorie weight loss diet, you should get at least 21 grams of fiber per day. If you are like the average American, you normally get less than half of the recommended amount of fiber. That’s good news because you have plenty of room for improvement.
Your first instinct might be to immediately ramp up your fiber intake to your goal level so that you can see effects sooner. Don’t do it! Anyone who has dramatically increased fiber intake can agree that a gradual intake is a much more comfortable approach.
A sudden increase in dietary fiber can cause cramping and bloating. Your family and co-workers may also appreciate a slower increase in your fiber intake because you will have less gas.
Increasing Your Fiber Intake
Start by adding 1 to 3 grams of fiber to your daily diet. If that goes well for a week, try adding another 1 to 3 grams per day. You can increase your intake weekly until you reach your goal amount. During this time, you need to drink plenty of water because soluble fiber pulls water from your gastrointestinal tract to increase stool bulk.
Weight loss is still about burning off more calories than you eat, but dietary fiber can make your diet easier. It helps you feel full, and a high-fiber diet leads to more nutritious food choices. Increasing your dietary fiber is beneficial for your long-term health, but make sure that you do it gradually to minimize unpleasant side effects.
About the Author
Felicia Baratz is a writer living in the Indianapolis area. As a writer for doseofmyown.com, she specializes in articles about health and nutrition.
Let’s thank Felicia for this wonderful reminder of how important fiber is to our health and weight-management, as well as her cautionary note and tips in how to avoid unpleasant side-effects! Has her guest post inspired you to add more fiber-filled foods to your grocery list?