We’ve known for decades that fiber-rich foods are good for weight control. One reason is that dietary fiber slows down the release of glucose into your bloodstream. This helps prevent the spike and subsequent crash of blood sugar that can occur with carbohydrates absorbed too quickly.
Another interesting benefit is that if you can move food through your digestive system faster, you’ll absorb fewer calories. Fiber speeds up intestinal transit time, which is also the reason fiber is good for regularity. Fiber can also leave you feeling full, so you’re likely to eat less during each meal.
A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study found that eating 36 grams of fiber each day can prevent your body from absorbing 130 calories. The most effective weight management programs will always ensure you eat foods full of fiber, besides getting enough of the essential nutrients we all need.
Fiber is a part of the structure of plants and comes in many forms; some common types include cellulose, lignins, and pectins. Fiber can’t be digested by human enzymes, but some types of fiber become digested by our gut microflora. Microbial digestion of fiber can release nutrients that help nourish our cells, especially the cells lining the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. And although it’s found in carbohydrate foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, fiber contributes no carbohydrates to our diets.
Fiber Comes in Two Forms and Your Body Will Benefit from Both
This comes from the hard structural part of a plant. Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignins give strength to plant structures such as stalks. Insoluble fiber is relatively hard to break down inside the body. It makes its way through the digestive system relatively intact, acting as a sweeping compound and making the stool softer and bulkier.
Soluble fiber comes from structures in the plant where there is a need to hold water. The coat of a seed, for example, might hold water to aid sprouting. Inside a succulent plant, soluble fiber helps hold water to guard against evaporation. As it enters the digestive tract, it absorbs water, with some types forming a thick, viscous gel. Soluble fibers are more easily fermented by the gut microflora.
Although both types of fibers are beneficial, soluble fiber has shown more health effects, such as improved control of blood sugar and cholesterol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies around the world have allowed claims for such benefits for a variety of fibers—mostly soluble—when present in sufficient amounts in foods that are otherwise healthy. You won’t see a fiber health claim on a piece of candy or pepperoni pizza!
There’s now indisputable evidence showing the numerous health benefits of fiber for your overall health and for how well a weight management plan will work.
Epidemiologic evidence from numerous studies shows that a high-fiber diet helps prevent obesity. Fiber intake is inversely associated with body weight and body fat, so the more consistent you are with your high-fiber diet, the likelier you are to stay at a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to.
Be sure that any weight management system you consider using has the right amounts of fiber.
It’s recommended that adults get at least 25–30 grams of fiber every day—ideally even more—yet most get only about 15 grams or less.
Dr. Daggy says: If you need to increase your fiber intake, it’s best to increase gradually, to give your GI tract time to adjust. Make sure when you do this that you have adequate water intake.
Fibers come from a wide variety of plant sources, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. One trick that has worked well in our house to increase fiber intake is a smoothie for breakfast. With a good blender, fruits (e.g., apples, pears, grapes, berries) and vegetables (e.g., blanched broccoli, kale, spinach, even Brussels sprouts) virtually disappear!
If you use nuts, just limit the amount if you are also trying to lose weight—a half dozen almonds or pecan pieces are okay. Some people like adding oatmeal or seeds. We almost always start with soy protein, which comes with some soy and other fibers. So, by the end of breakfast, we are well on our way to meeting our fiber requirement for the day.
7 Fiber Benefits for Your Weight Loss Plan
1. Slows down the absorption of glucose, which reduces insulin levels and reduces fat storage.
2. By slowing absorption, fiber can also help prevent your blood glucose from going too low after it spikes in response to a meal. Low glycemic index foods give a more gentle rise in blood glucose, and often one reason for this is their fiber content.
3. Increases the speed with which food passes through your digestive system, so you’ll absorb fewer calories and fat.
4. Leaves you full, so you end up eating less in every meal.
5. Reduces inflammation due to sludgy bile.
6. It helps support healthy elimination.
7. Recognized by the FDA as a means to improve certain risk factors and stay healthy. This statement applies to specific types of fiber at adequate levels in otherwise healthy foods.
Our Recommended Fiber Products:
Life Shakes: Healthy, delicious all-in-one meal clinically proven to help you reach and maintain your healthy weight. Delivers 6 grams of fiber in every shake.
Fiber Plan Tablets: One serving delivers 3 grams of fiber from five natural food sources. Quick and convenient — just take with water.
Fiber Plan Powdered: Over serving delivers 4 grams of dietary powder. Just stir into your favorite beverage.
Shaklee 180 Meal-in-a Bar: No time to sit and dine. This Meal-in-a-Bar delivers 18-20 grams of hunger-fighting protein and 6-7 grams of fiber.