When it comes to weight loss, the simple act of eating more fiber, or roughage, can make a huge difference. Instead of struggling with diet books, calorie counting and portion measuring, this straightforward addition can make your weight loss journey much smoother.
Recently, a study found out that without any other changes, people who added more fiber to their diets lost nearly as much weight as people who followed the low-fat eating plan recommended by the American Heart Association. Foods high in roughage like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthier as a food lifestyle then keeping up with complicated diets.
What Is Fiber?
It is a carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that cannot be digested. Because it isn’t digested by your body unlike other carbohydrates, it will pass easily through your system without causing a rise in blood sugar level. There are two main parts that make up dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Roughage is present in every fruit and vegetable, but it’s mostly found in the skin, seeds and membranes.
This means, a peeled banana has less than an apple. Whole berries like raspberries and strawberries, are the main sources of roughage in fruit according to Tracie Jackson, RD, a nutrition therapist with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Rather than scooping grapefruit out of the little juice pockets, peeling it like an orange and eating it will give you more fiber,” she says.
This type of roughage dissolves in water, and can help to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Foods that contain soluble fiber are oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, onions, certain vegetables like broccoli and carrots and specific fruits like figs, berries, and bananas.
This fiber group does not dissolve in water so it promotes regularity. Foods that have insoluble fiber consist of whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat, legumes like beans and peas, vegetables like green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, and celery and some fruits like avocados, grape skins, and bananas that are not ripe yet.
How Much to Eat to Lose Weight
Women under 50 years old should aim for 25 grams of fiber a day, and men should aim for 38 grams. Some experts recommend more but this depends on various factors so consult with a dietitian or family doctor.
How Does It Help With Weight Loss?
Fiber does not have any magical fat-burning powers. What it does is do is help you feel full without the addition of extra calories to your diet. For example, you can eat a baked potato, with skin instead of having a packet of potato chips. Not only do you consume fewer calories but you will feel full for a longer time.
For Rebecca Blake, director of clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, “it’s choosing the most intelligent calories” that makes a difference in losing weight. Make sure to add the right amount of fiber to your food lifestyle and redefine your weight loss.