As someone looking to make long-term lifestyle changes to lose weight, you may be told by a nutritionist or doctor that you need more fiber in your diet. The reasoning goes that fiber helps you feel full, which in turn prevents you from consuming more calories.*
But, fiber, found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is far more complex. On a basic level, it’s a carbohydrate that can’t be digested by humans. In its soluble form, best for consumption, it benefits your body’s metabolism; its insoluble version, by contrast, is ideal as a bulking agent.
Additionally, a recent study found that, when people add more fiber to their diets without changing anything else, they tend to lose just as much weight as those who follow the American Heart Association’s heart-healthy, low-fat guidelines.*
So, with these points in mind, this is how fiber can assist with your weight loss plan:*
High-fiber foods, after you eat them, end up filling your stomach. From here, that sensation sends a signal to your body’s receptors, which in turn tell you that you’re “full” and thus should stop eating for the time being.
However, in order for this process to be effective, it’s important that you drink any high-fiber foods with water. Doing so helps them move more efficiently through your digestive system.
Soluble fiber, after it absorbs water, creates a gel-like substance in your digestive system. This, in turn, slows down your body’s absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. From here, lower blood sugar levels often lead to lower insulin levels, which prevent, then, your body from holding onto fat.
After the fiber passes through your stomach, it reaches the bacteria in the intestines, which then help digest it and turn it into usable energy. As a result, unlike with refined or “white” carbohydrates, you get the strength to do more – whether that’s exercising or focusing on your job – without wondering when you’ll eat again.
Furthermore, at this stage, giving food to your gut’s bacteria is said to have a prebiotic effect. This, too, is said to be beneficial, as it helps control inflammation, which can lead to weight gain.
For adults under 50 years of age looking to lose weight, it’s recommended that women get about 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams. Ideally, that would be soluble fiber from natural sources, but if you’re looking to stay within a certain calorie range, a diet plan may further incorporate supplements.
If you're interested in losing weight in Connecticut, Medical Weight Loss Solutions can help.* With locations in Wallingford, and Branford, Medical Weight Loss Solutions offers consultations, supervised diet plans, and more.* Get in touch to make an appointment or learn more.