(NaturalNews) Although the National Cancer Institute recommends a daily intake of 20-35 grams of fiber, most Americans consumer less than half that amount. By choosing fiber-rich foods you can improve your overall health and increase your weight loss results. Research at Tufts University in Boston shows people who eat more fiber consume less total calories and lose more weight than those who eat a diet deficient in fiber.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of nutrients into your system and insoluble fiber keeps your digestive system running efficiently. It's important to note that drinking plenty of water will help both types of fiber do their job better.
Fiber can support weight loss by making meals more satisfying and filling. High-fiber foods add more bulk to your meals without adding extra calories. Meals high in fiber will also provide a feeling of fullness for much longer periods than meals with a low fiber content because fiber slows the digestive process and delays hunger. By eating meals high in fiber, you can have the feeling of fullness with less calorie consumption.
Fiber also slows the absorption of glucose, which will help regulate blood sugar levels. Without fiber, carbohydrates enter the system quickly, causing a sudden spike in blood sugar. Insulin levels rise to accommodate the high blood sugar levels. High insulin levels signal to the body that it should start converting food into body fat. Then blood sugar levels drop dramatically, which can cause sugar and carbohydrate cravings, lethargy and foggy thinking. Eating fiber with each meal and snack can help prevent this cycle of food cravings and weight gain.
Foods which are high in fiber tend to be healthier choices in general. For instance, a glass of fruit juice can contain twice as much sugar and none of the fiber provided by a piece of real fruit. Choosing whole grains and fresh produce over less healthy foods will improve your overall health in addition to helping you lose weight.
Plus, if you eat a food that is high in fiber, less of the calories from the food are absorbed into your system, because fiber is not absorbed by the body. So, less calories will be absorbed from one cup of whole grain pasta than from the same amount of refined white pasta because the fiber content of the whole grain pasta is so much higher.
Dr. Melinda Sothern of the LSU Health Sciences Center states that in her research she found fiber to be an important component of weight loss. It can be just as important as making smart food choices and exercising regularly. The best way to add fiber to your diet is by eating more whole foods like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also add in a fiber supplement if you are having trouble eating enough fiber every day.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...