Can you up your fiber to get your weight down? Eat more to weigh less? In a word: Yes!
In addition to helping to keep you “regular,” fiber boosts the activity of beneficial probiotics in the lower GI tract, which helps to boost the immune system. In addition, fiber is a natural cholesterol-cutter and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels which is good to keep our cravings in control.
A National of Fiber Haters
Why are we hating on fiber so much? Fiber’s done nothing but good for us, but nine out of 10 of us don’t get our daily recommended amount of fiber of 14 grams for every 1,000 calories we eat (about 25-40 grams per day).
If I’m not eating 5+ servings of produce per day, it’s pretty hard to get all that fiber in…without resorting to fiber-fortified foods and beverages. And, it’s best that we don’t rely on foods that are plumped and stuffed with isolated fibers as they don’t carry all the same benefits of natural, fiber-rich foods.
It’s no surprise to me that most of us are lacking fiber in our diets.
Less than 1% of Americans eat the recommended number of servings of produce and fewer than 10% meet the recommended servings (at least 3) of whole grains.
Produce for Better Health, USDA-ERS
I love all the amazing health benefits of fiber, but for me, fiber’s biggest asset is that is can temper my appetite. (For those who know me, know that I’m always up for eating, probably because I exercise so much.) Because it adds volume or bulk to food (minus calories) it helps to make a calorie-reduced diet more satisfying. When you eat a large fiber-filled food your stomach’s so-called “stretch” receptors tell the brain that it’s satisfied, when you probably really haven’t had too many calories. In essence, it’s like fooling yourself full. Research on fiber backs this up.
Five Fiber Finds
Progresso Soups: Many have 3 grams of fiber from all the veggies they pack into their cans. Look for ones that have protein as well. I find that having a bowl of fiber-rich, broth-based soup as an afternoon snack really helps keep me from wanting any afternoon sweets.
Sunsweet Ones: I love these individually-wrapped prunes because I can take them with me when traveling, so I always have fruit on hand. Each prune is about 25 calories and has just under a grams of fiber. Have four and you get 100 calories and almost four grams fiber. Other compounds in prunes also aid to healthy GI tract function, so their benefits go beyond the fiber in the dried fruit.
Brownberry Healthfull 10-Grain Bread: This new bread is one of the best I’ve seen. It has five grams of protein per slice (just one shy of an egg!) and four grams of fiber. All that nutrition in just an 80-calorie slice.
Fiber One Complete Pancake Mix: I’ve recently discovered this pancake mix, which has five grams fiber per serving, and keep sugars in check. The pancake mix even has six grams protein thanks to the dehydrated egg whites in the mix.
In-shell pistachios. Talk about a mindful snack, fiber-rich snack. You need to think about each one as you shell it, but they also have six grams protein per serving and 3 grams fiber–that’s more fiber than most other nuts.
Is there anything new you’ve seen that tastes great and is fiber-packed? If so, let us know about it!