When it comes to weight loss, people often think deprivation and denial; to lose weight you need to cut something (or a lot of somethings) out of your usual eating plan– making the idea of going on a diet seem daunting, dreadful and depressing. Womp, womp.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret today… weight loss doesn’t have to be so dreary; one of the most effective ways to lose weight, and keep it off, actually has little to do with what you cut out of your diet at all! Rather, it’s what you add to your diet that makes it all work, and that magic bean (which coincidentally is also commonly associated with beans) is fiber.
Fiber is the zero-calorie, non-digestible part of a carbohydrate that adds bulk to food. When added to the diet, fiber makes for weight loss that is attainable, easy, and dare we say enjoyable?! Yes, we do.
This is why: many people are convinced that carbohydrates cause them to gain weight, and thus in attempt to lose weight, cut them out. However, carbohydrates fuel our bodies and cutting them out leads to feeling tired, cranky and weak – cue those feelings of hunger and deprivation.
Fiber allows you to eat the carbohydrates necessary for energy, but since fiber passes through the digestive tract intact, it contributes zero calories to the diet – AKA, it doesn’t contribute to weight gain. Moreover, fiber swells in the stomach, leaving you feeling full and satisfied. This prevents you from overeating and keeps hunger at bay throughout the day. Fiber can also absorb fat and calories as it passes through your system, preventing them from being absorbed. Finally, it boosts your metabolism, since the body must work harder to digest fiber-rich foods.
That’s not all though! A diet rich in fiber is associated with a host of health benefits too. Fiber reduces the risk for various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancers, including breast and colon cancer. High fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are often full of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals to keep us healthy. Moreover, fiber acts as a “broom” the sweeps out the harmful toxins from your body.
Additionally, fiber aids in regularity. In the same way that it sweeps out toxins, fiber can also help eliminate remnants from your digestive tract. It does so by adding bulk to consumed foods and decreasing their transit time through the digestive system. This makes elimination easier, reducing the incidence of bloating and constipation.
Despite the ample benefits of fiber, most people still don’t get enough. Americans are eating far less than they need: while it is recommended that we consume 25-38 grams of fiber each day, we only get a mere 15 grams on average!
So how do we increase our fiber intake? There are many delicious foods that are rich in fiber, such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes…and of course, ALOHA protein bars. Raspberries, artichokes, kale, apples, pears and high-fiber crackers such as GG® Bran Crispbreads are all a great place to start. And good news, new fiber-rich products are introduced to the marketplace every day, so it has never been easier to meet your fiber needs.
If you do not currently consume enough fiber, it is best to increase your intake gradually to allow your body to adjust. Moreover, it is important to drink enough water as you increase consumption. Aim for 3 liters of water daily. Water will help fiber to do its job and to pass through the system efficiently.
You can’t control everything in your life, but when it comes to getting enough fiber in your diet, the fork is in YOUR hand. In order to keep your body fit, healthy, running smoothly and feeling great, eat your fiber and stay hydrated! You can do this!