You May Be Lacking This Very Important Nutrient for Weight Loss
There are many factors that come in to play when we talk about maintaining overall good health and those looking for desired weight loss. One such factor is the importance of fiber. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 95% of Americans do not meet their daily fiber requirements. If you’re thinking, that’s a lot of people, you would be correct! So, let’s take a closer look at fiber and why it's so important.
What is Fiber, Where is it found, and How much do I need?
Fiber is the term given to any type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest. These fibers are found in plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, beans, nuts and seeds. It provides bulk in the diet which helps promote healthy gastrointestinal function and according to research, it helps the body with maintaining healthy cholesterol, better blood sugar control (this can help those with and without diabetes) and can provide protective effects against certain types of cancers such as colon cancer.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the recommended daily requirements for fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men daily.
Fiber and Weight loss
Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system, because of this, it contributes to a feeling of fullness after eating which can help aid in weight loss. Some fiber rich foods, like beans and legumes contain types of fiber that the body uses as a prebiotic, that can feed the good bacteria in our bodies. Fiber foods also usually contain less calories and more healthy fat which can help promote on overall healthy weight.
Examples of Fiber Foods and How to use in a Typical Day
1 cup raspberries: 8 grams fiber
1 medium apple (about 3 inches or size of tennis ball): 4 grams fiber
½ cup blueberries: 2 grams fiber
1 medium banana (about the size of a pen): 3 grams fiber
1 cup cooked cauliflower: 2 grams fiber
1 cup cooked broccoli: 5 grams fiber
½ cup black beans: 7 grams fiber
3 slices avocado: 3 grams fiber
3 cups air popped corn: 3.5 grams fiber
23 almonds: 3.5 grams fiber
½ cup quinoa: 5 grams fiber
1 slice rye bread: 2 grams
Take a look at your current intake and compare it to the list above. Aim for trying some new combinations and pairings to get to a better intake of fiber daily, such as avocado toast, adding berries to your Greek yogurt, using almonds as a snack, or adding to your oatmeal. Making half your plate at dinner non-starchy veggies and focusing on more fiber rich options. Adding black beans to your salad or combine with other veggies like onions and peppers and adding to your eggs. The options are endless, and you can see that getting to a good fiber intake is not to far out of reach!
Try increasing fiber foods slowly over a few days if you are new to eating them, note that feelings of some minor gas or bloating is normal (anything out of your normal contact your medical professional).
Fiber and water are friends. Make sure you are getting to your goal in water daily (discuss with your dietitian as to what are your daily water goals should be).
Go to eatright.org and mayoclinic.org for more information about types of fiber and ways to get more fiber in your diet.
For a packaged food, a high fiber food is one that contains at least 5 grams or more per serving.
There are many great websites that include healthy fiber recipes:
Keep in mind, all patients at The Rite Bite Nutrition have access to our dietitian designed recipe files and snacking guides that are chock full of ideas on how to incorporate necessary components of the diet such as adequate fiber. If you are stuck on how to incorporate more fiber in your diet, contact our office today and schedule your initial consultation with one of our dietitians here.
Until Next Time,
Kim Manfried, RDN, CDN