Did you know that eating more fiber can help you lose weight, even if you don't make other changes to your diet?Fiber really fills you up and you digest it more slowly than simple starches and sugars. People who were told to get at least 30 grams of fiber a day with no other changes to their diets, lost a significant amount of weight, found a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The list of benefits contributed from fiber is long.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead, it passes through the body undigested. Fiber also helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
The Two Types of Fiber
Dissolves in water and can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows your body absorption of sugar aiding in blood sugar control and attaches itself to cholesterol particles to help take them out of your body, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation
Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, and blueberries.
Does not dissolve in water and can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation.
Insoluble fiber helps bulk up the foods you eat after they have been digested to aid in passing the eliminated waste, also relieving constipation but also helping you feel full and manage a healthy weight.
Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Scientists have long known the health benefits of eating fiber. Many studies have shown that consuming a high fiber diet is linked to living longer, healthier lives. The fiber nutrient has been linked to fending off disease and reducing the risk of a range of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, constipation, food allergies, and even knee arthritis.
The importance of fiber is intimately tied with the importance of our gut microbes. A proper fiber diet literally feeds and makes these bacteria thrive. In turn, they increase in number and kind. The more microbes we have in our intestines, the thicker the mucus wall, and the better the barrier between our body and our busy bacteria population. While the mucus barrier lowers inflammation throughout the body, the bacteria aid indigestion, creating a dual benefit.
Eating low-fiber foods, or eating only a few types of fiber — such as the same fiber supplement every day — can harm your intestinal biome and the health of your protective mucus wall.
Here are a variety of high-fiber foods:
Nuts and Seeds
Spaghetti (whole wheat)
* Choose no-salt or low-salt version of these foods,
* *Choose the low-sugar version of these foods
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Minimum recommended daily intake (in grams)
9-13 31g 26g
14-18 38g 26g
19-30 38g 25g
31-50 38g 25g
51+ 30g 21g
Source: Food and Nutrition InformationCenter, USDA
Now that you know all the health benefits of fiber, you may want to start to consume more. However, eating too much fiber can cause digestive distress, gas, and intestinal blockages. The good news is that it’s hard to get too much fiber, especially since most people don’t get enough. Slowly ramping up your fiber intake can help you avoid some of the above problems. Not overdoing it will help you avoid the rest.