We’ve always known fiber to be an important part of a healthy diet. But what is it about fiber that makes it the secret to losing weight and keeping it off?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate 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 helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
Aside from fiber’s regulatory benefits, high-fiber foods are rich in vitamins and essential nutrients, especially when compared to other food groups. Fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
As an added benefit, especially for keeping a healthy weight, fiber fills you up and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Recent studies have shown that people who added more fiber to their diet picked up other important healthy habits like exercising regularly.
So it seems that a simple high-fiber diet can provide immense health benefits. It’s also easier to stick to when compared to diets that require multiple changes in eating habits.
The ease with which people can incorporate fiber into their diet makes it easy to stick to long term. Many people struggle to follow complex dietary recommendations, with reason.
The easier something is, the more likely we are to stick to it. When changes are too drastic, or involve an entire overhaul of our current lifestyle, these big changes often lead to falling off the wagon much sooner than anticipated. A simple diet that only requires you to increase your fiber intake may be an easier alternative and a great starting point for those who have tried many different diets and ways to lose weight.
In general, Americans have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to their fiber intake. The truth is that fiber supplements do not provide the same health benefits as the natural fiber you get from whole foods. Therefore, it is important to expand your fiber intake through high-fiber foods rather than only supplements.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is between 25–30 grams. Some of the best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Here are some of the best foods to add fiber to your diet and support your weight-loss goals:
- Chia seeds
- Flaxseed meal
- Brussel sprouts
Dr. David Samadi is the chairman of the urology department and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the FOX News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Learn more at RoboticOncology.com and visit Dr. Samadi’s blog: SamadiMD.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.