This post is about the most overlooked weight loss factor in our diet - fiber.
Dietary fiber (the fourth step to rapid weight loss) has several important health benefits as listed below.
The Mayo Clinic web site lists the following benefits (click here to get the details):
- Normalizes bowel movements
- Helps maintain bowel health
- Lowers cholesterol
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Aids in achieving healthy weight
Just by the way, the 5 steps are listed in this article, step 1 is discussed in this post, step 2 is covered in this post and step 3 is addressed here.
You should have at least 30 grams of fiber per day.
That being said, you do need to be careful to increase fiber gradually.
Why the gradual increase? Some people who go from 0 - 30 grams of fiber per day experience digestive distress. I know - I'm one of the "some people."
And, it's important that you drink plenty of water (at least 64 ounces per day). Otherwise, the fiber will not move through your system properly (another way you can feel digestive distress). Drinking that amount of water means you'll be eliminating more often than previously, but it's a small price to pay for the health and weight loss benefits.
How to add fiber to your diet.
Per my gastro doc's advice, I use supplement every day - 1 tablespoon of metamusil in a 12 ounce glass of water followed by another glass of water. That's 10 grams of fiber.
Per WebMd, other sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium (the main metamusil ingredient), cucumbers, celery, and carrots.
Webmd lists insoluble fiber (speed up the movement of colon contents) sources as follows: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.I eat nuts, fruits, veggies, hummus, whole grains, and flaxseeds to increase my fiber intake.
An interesting weight loss side effect of soluble fiber is that it you feel full. After I take the Metamusil supplement in the morning, I am not likely to eat again until lunch time. This is a relatively new habit for me. Some sources will say that eating in the morning is essential to your health. Others will say it's a form of fasting. I find I can limit my daily calorie count by taking the fiber supplement.