While many people turn to the latest and greatest weight loss supplements to shed excess pounds, they pass by the most natural means of doing so-fiber. Whether it is the next great fat burner or super-duper protein powder, none of these compare to the benefits that fiber offers.
What is Dietary Fiber?
Amazingly, people under-estimate what fiber does, or how it benefits their bodies and overall health. It is often called roughage or bulk, and aides the body in waste elimination. Although this may not sound beneficial, it is more so than anyone understands.
A person’s body can easily digest and absorb fats and carbohydrates, the very components leading to weight gain and toxic waste. Fiber, on the other hand, passes through the body easily and intact. This process allows the fiber to do more for the body, such as expediting one’s weight loss efforts by eliminating waste.
Types of Fiber
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble aids in the movement of waste through your digestive system, creating bulk stool. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like material as it dissolves into water. Each serves a different purpose in the body, providing various benefits.
High Fiber Diet and Weight Loss
Eating a high fiber diet helps a person lose weight in a number of ways. First, foods high in fiber are generally low in calories. It stands to reason that the fewer calories you eat, the easier it is to shed excess pounds. High volume eaters can eat more fiber content foods and still keep the calories low.
Foods high in fiber, such as whole wheat bread, pasta and oatmeal, are more filling, and leave a person with a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. The reason? These foods take longer to digest. These foods take a person longer to eat, which means their stomach fills sooner, resulting in less food consumed.
High fiber foods also control a person’s blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels play a vital role in hunger. When too low, a signal is sent to the brain saying, “I need something to eat… NOW!” This is the danger zone for many. This is when most reach for a candy bar or bag of chips to satisfy them. Unfortunately, as quickly as these items raise blood sugar levels, within a half hour, the levels drop again. Opting for a high fiber food, such as an apple, stabilizes these levels; they do not spike, nor do they drop. Hunger is under control and the journey toward weight loss success continues.
Recent studies have been conducted, and even without changing other dietary habits or increasing exercise, participants who increased their fiber intake lost seven pounds.
High Fiber Diet and Waste Excretion
The existence of waste in the body prevents weight loss from occurring, however, eating a diet high in fiber can help with this as well. Fiber actually binds to the fatty foods in a person’s system, cleansing the body of the waste these foods leave behind; the waste that would normally slow the weight loss process.
Insoluble fiber carries cancer causing agents from the body as it passes quickly through the intestines and colon. Once reaching the bowel, it increases the weight and size of the stool, but softens it, making it easier to pass. Not only is it excreting possible carcinogens from the body, it also aids in relieving constipation.
Soluble fiber has its own benefits, which includes lowering one’s risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. As it dissolves and breaks down into the gel-like substance, that bonds to the excess cholesterol in a person’s body, excreting it through your waste.
The FDA recommends women younger than 50 consume 25 grams per day, while women over the age of 50 consume 21 grams. Men require 38 grams per day if under the age of 50, and 30 grams if over the age of 50.
High Fiber Foods
Here are some examples of the best high fiber foods people can consume: Apples, pears, raspberries, oranges, whole wheat spaghetti, barley, oatmeal, bran flakes, split peas, lentils, black beans, lima beans, artichokes, peas and broccoli. People should always check the fiber content before purchasing and plan their meals accordingly.
Meal replacement shakes that contain high sources of fiber can also be used. These are great for weight loss because you get your nutrients and fiber. Some shakes contain enough fiber to help you reach your daily fiber intake. You can add your fruits and vegetables to these shakes and create a smoothie that can keep you full.
Although studies have proven a person can still lose weight without additional changes to diet and exercise, for optimal results, a well-rounded diet is necessary for weight loss and overall health. Additionally, even though there are many high fiber supplements, nothing is comparable to the actual foods themselves. These supplements help a person meet their fiber requirement. Powder supplements can be added to your smoothies, salads, baking and drinks.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, get fit, or just have a balanced diet. Do not forget about your fiber intake.