Hi Guys! I’m Jen, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist working here at Fast Weight Loss 365. I wanted to pop on today and share one of my favorite weight loss tips. Today I’m going to talk to you all about fiber. In my opinion, fiber is the unsung hero of weight loss and health in general and not enough people focus on getting enough of it in their diet. I want to go over with you why it’s so important and how you can get enough fiber every day.
Fiber usually comes to mind when we think of making our bowels regular, and while it is important in gut health, its role in weight loss cannot be overlooked. First of all, you may be wondering what fiber is. Well, it’s a carbohydrate that our bodies don’t digest. This means the fiber in foods does not add to your calories or grams of carbohydrate you eat.
While we humans don’t digest fiber, the good bacteria that live in our gut, called our microbiome LOVES fiber and uses it for fuel. Science is learning new things every day that affects our health. From gut health to mood to weight loss, the healthy bacteria in our gut can play a role so we want to make sure we are fueling them.
Fiber does a few more important things when it comes to weight loss. It soaks up water and slows down how food moves through your digestive tract. This leaves you feeling full longer! Who doesn’t want that? Additionally, it can lower spikes in blood sugar after a meal. This is important for everyone, not just people with diabetes. Lower spikes in blood sugar mean more consistent energy and fewer cravings for sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods.
So how much fiber do you need? Well, the American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of fiber per day, but I try to get my clients to aim for 25-30 grams a day. Most Americans only get 16 grams of fiber a day so it’s important to know which food sources have the most fiber and include them daily.
Most of us think of fruits and veggies as having a lot of fiber, but not all are created equal. For example, 1 cup of raw spinach only has about 2 grams of fiber. You’ll have to eat quite a lot of spinach to get up to 25 grams. A few of my favorite high fiber foods, all of which have over 5 grams per serving are
Raspberries and blackberries, artichokes and avocados, beans, whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, and nuts and seeds. I try to get some of these foods in my diet on a daily basis.
If you know you are not eating enough fiber and want to start eating more please start increasing your fiber slowly. If your body is not used to a lot of fiber you can get an upset belly and gas and bloat. If you start slow you should tolerate the fiber just fine and soon you’ll be able to get 25-30 grams in a day and reap all the benefits of this weight loss secret weapon!
Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Fast Weight Loss 365