Adding fiber to your diet will help you to lose weight. High fiber foods take longer to chew and help to make you feel full. Adding fiber to your diet will also assist in keeping your digestive system functioning smoothly.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber does not. Examples of foods with soluble fiber include apples, oranges, carrots, beans, oats and peas. Insoluble fiber food options include whole wheat products, nuts and vegetables such as beets, cabbage and cauliflower. The insoluble fiber in these foods passes through the intestines without being absorbed. This helps to expedite the passage of food through the body by creating bulk and reduces the chances of constipation.
Fiber Makes You Feel Full
High-fiber foods fill you up and control your appetite. They also tend to not contain as many calories as foods that are low in fiber. High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables take longer to eat. You have to chew them longer, slowing down your food consumption during mealtime.
Just the act of eating more slowly helps you to eat fewer calories. It takes your body about 20 minutes to send a message to your brain that you are full. When you eat high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and other foods that require extensive chewing, you give your brain the time needed to receive the signal that you are full.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat?
The daily recommendation for fiber for women under 50 is 25 grams. Women over 50 can eat a little bit less, about 21 grams. For men under 50, the daily recommendation is 38 grams. For men over 50 the recommendation drops to 30 grams. In general, you can calculate your personal fiber intake based on a daily dietary intake of 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories.
Ways to Increase Fiber Intake
Adding fiber to your diet is very important for weight loss. If you find that your diet is low in fiber, start adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You might want to be careful and do this gradually to avoid uncomfortable symptoms. When you eat a lot of fiber at one time, you might experience stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea or intestinal gas. This, however, is not cause for alarm because your body's natural bacteria will adjust to the increase of fiber in your diet, eliminating these symptoms over time.
Adding fiber to your diet can be done in ways that are enjoyable. Select high-fiber cereals that are low in fat and sugar. Eat a piece of fruit with each meal or as replacement for sugary desserts or snacks. Make sandwiches with whole grain breads. Choose your favorite vegetables and eat them in large portions, whether cooked or raw. Carry pistachios and almonds to eat in moderation to curb hunger in between meals.
Adequate water intake is also very important when adding fiber to your diet. Drink 8 glasses of water daily to help move the fiber through your digestive system.