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High Fiber Diets For Weight Loss

High Fiber Weight Loss Plans

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High Fiber Diets

What is Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a form of low-GI carbohydrate from plants. Fiber is not a source of energy or nutrition since the human body lacks the necessary enzymes to metabolize it in the gut. Fiber therefore adds no calories to our diet and passes largely unassimilated through the digestive system into the bowel.

Why is Fiber Helpful For Weight Loss?

Dietary fiber is a useful element in any weight reduction eating plan for several reasons:

  • The main sources of dietary fiber are healthy carbohydrates which have a low rating on the Glycemic Index (GI). Their low GI value means that they have a stabilizing effect on our blood glucose levels. This helps us avoid blood sugar "spikes", improves appetite control and mood.
  • Fiber typically swells in the stomach when mixed with fluids. This helps us to feel fuller.
  • Fiber slows down digestion in the stomach, by stopping our digestive enzymes from breaking down and digesting food. This prolongs the feeling of satiety and stops us from feeling hungry too soon after eating.
  • Evidence suggests that soluble fiber may bind with fat, thus reducing the absorption of small amounts of fat, leading to fewer calories being eaten.
  • Fiber contains no calories itself.
  • Regular consumption of fiber offers a range of health benefits, including a reduced risk of digestive disorders, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Since weight reduction is linked to good health, the healthier your diet the easier it will be to lose weight.

Examples of High Fiber Diets

Raw food and vegetarian diets are typically rich in fiber. Popular weight loss plans that are high in dietary fiber, include: Eat More, Weight Less by Dean Ornish; and the F-Plan Diet by Audrey Eyton. Both diets are low in fat (10-20 percent of calories) and high in complex low-GI carbohydrates.

Types of Fiber

There are 2 types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble. Many plant foods contain both types, although in varying proportions. Insoluble fiber is mainly cellulose and is found in all plants. Good sources include: grains (wheat, corn, rice), vegetables and beans. Soluble fiber includes pectin (from apples and citrus fruits), beta-glucans (from oat-bran, oats, barley and rye) and arabinose (from beans). Specific food sources of insoluble fiber include: All Bran, Beans, Cabbage, Frozen Peas, Wholewheat bread, Carrots, Beets, Wheat bran, Brussels Sprouts, Wholegrains. Specific food sources of soluble fiber include: Apples, Oat bran, Beans, Strawberries, Mango, Citrus fruits, Parsnips, Oatbran, Seaweed, Dried Apricots.

Choose a Balanced High Fiber Diet

Although certain foods (eg. wheat bran) are very high in fiber, it is best to obtain your dietary fiber from a variety of sources.

Use of Supplements Not Recommended

It is best to get your dietary fiber naturally from high-fiber foods rather from fiber supplements. This is because some fiber supplements have caused severe stomach problems, including bloating, diarrhoea or even blockage.

Fiber Needs Extra Fluid

When adding fiber to your daily diet, increase your intake of fluids. Otherwise there is an increased risk of digestive discomfort, including increased constipation.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) For Dietary Fiber

For Adults Under the Age of 50
The recommended daily fiber intake is 38 grams for men, and 25 grams for women.

For Adults Over the Age of 50
The recommended daily fiber intake is 30 grams for men, and 21 grams for women.

More Information
Health Benefits of Fiber
How Much Fiber to Eat
Food Sources

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