One of the questions I get is, “Am I getting enough fiber in my diet?” This is an important question to be asking because most of us probably know fiber is important to our health but we might not know why. Oh yeah, it’s really great for weight loss too!
**Fiber is also filling and can make you feel full so it promotes weight loss by helping you not over eat.
When you use my vegetarian weight loss ebook for weight loss people tell me that they can’t finish the entire meal because they are full. When Craig Ballantyne eats a veggie diet he said he almost forces himself to eat to get in the calories he needs because it’s so filling from the large quantities of fiber.
Here’s some important details about fiber. What is fiber, why is it so important, what does it all mean to me? Be sure to check out the list of high fiber foods at the end of this article and you’ll be surprised which foods are high in fiber.
1. What is Fiber?
Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrate foods. Fiber gives foods it’s structure like in celery, beans, lettuce, etc. Most plant based foods contain two types of fiber in different portions.
These 2 types of fiber are called soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble: fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active by products.
Insoluble: fiber that is metabolically inert , absorbing water & toxins as it moves through the digestive system, easing ones ability to have a bowel movement.
What’s the big deal?!
**Very important to know and this is so helpful in weight loss. Fiber increases food volume with out increasing caloric content. Giving you the feeling of being full and satisfied. This is only one amazing benefit, I’ll go in to more cool benefits later.
It is difficult to eat excessively on a “healthy” vegetarian diet. The amount of fiber in a healthy veggie diet fills you up making it difficult for you to over eat. Yes, there are unhealthy vegetarian diets and I’ve seen unhealthy, overweight vegetarians. In fact you’d be surprised how common it is! Please make sure you’re eating high fiber not low fiber processed grains and sugars is key.
The good news is vegetarian diets are typically higher in fiber than a meat eaters diet. Now if you are a meat eater, not to worry! Incorporating in some vegetarian meals throughout the week has been shown to be a healthy addition to a clean and healthy colon. Vegetarians and vegans are typically likely to meet the FDA’s daily requirement of 20-35 grams of fiber a day versus a meat eater who typically only consumes 12 grams of fiber a day. Now, if you are one of these super health conscience meat eaters than you probably include a high amounts of healthy high fiber foods in your diet so these statistics don’t pertain to you.
The biggest and most recent study on the effects of fiber on the body was published earlier this year in the Archives of Internal Medicine included more than 388,000 adults, who participated in a diet and health study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. The results concluded that people who ate the highest amount of fiber were 22 percent less likely to die from causes such as cancer. Who doesn’t love that?!
Here’s the benefits of adding more fiber into your diet above and beyond just having a healthy colon and cancer prevention.
- Normalizes bowel movements (keeps you “regular” If not, this has been linked and is a root cause of sickness and disease)
- Helps control blood sugar levels, thus control diabetes
- Prevents diverticulitis, lower your risk of hemorrhoids
- Lowers blood cholesterol
- Lowers inflammation in the body
- Help prevent heart disease
Check out this high fiber recipe I made- raw granola
How much fiber should I be eating?
The typical adult male should consume approximately 35-38 grams a day and the average woman should consume about 25 grams a day.
Change your life- High Fiber Foods List
Flax Seeds- 2 Tbl = 4 grams fiber
Split peas- 1 cup= 16 grams fiber
Lentils- 1 cup= 15 grams fiber
Beans and legumes of all kinds- 1 cup = approx 16 grams fiber Wow!
High Fiber Cereal (Kashi Go Lean)- 1 cup= 10 grams fiber
Broccoli- 1 cup= 5 grams
Fresh Carrots- 1 cup= 2 grams fiber
Raspberries- 1 cup= 8 grams Surprisingly High!
Pear- 1 medium= 5.5 grams
Bran flakes- 3/4 cups= 5.3 grams
Sweet corn- 1 cup= 4 grams
Psyllium Husk- 4 tspn= 8 grams
**Very Important- slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet or else you will feel uncomfortable gas and bloating so slowly work up to the daily amount over a week or two.
Kardena Pauza Author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans- 90 day Done for you diet
Personal Trainer and owner of EdgePersonalTrainers.com