Fiber often takes a back seat in our discussions about weight loss despite a tremendous amount of research suggesting it may be hugely important. When people ask me about eating high fiber foods for weight loss, I tell them that the reality is you can’t burn fat for good unless your diet includes large quantities of fiber!
Our way of living, as a whole, tends to focus on quick, on-the-go healthy foods to compliment our busy lifestyles and we forget about the importance of ensuring that we include fiber.
As a health-conscious person, and a mother, I’m always reading labels. Lately, I’ve been making an effort to focus on fiber content of foods that I enjoy and have noticed that, compared to what is recommended, it still takes great effort to get enough in our diet!
So, in an effort to do right by fiber, I started researching ways to fit more fiber in my family’s already healthy diet…
Some of the yummy foods I really love are high in fiber and I wanted to share them with you. Before I do, however, just a quick word on what fiber really is and why it’s so important…
Fiber is an indigestible substance that is found mainly in plants, fruits and veggies. Studies show that getting in about 30g of fiber daily is a good start, although it’s worth mentioning that our caveman ancestors consumed much more than this minimal quantity…
You may be asking, “why do we need all of this fiber and WHERE am I going to find it?”
The simple way of thinking of fiber is as filler, it helps us feel satiated after eating and keeps us from overeating at our current meal as well as later in the day.
Fiber keeps us regular, keeps our intestinal flora healthy and ensures our digestive tract doesn’t get backed up. Fiber also forces us to take our time and chew our food, without fiber in our food; we wouldn’t chew it as diligently, this plays an important role in slowing our eating down and thus allowing time for food to register with our brain.
Before I list my favorite high-fiber foods, it’s important to familiarize yourselves with the two main types of fiber and the roles they play in our health:
Insoluble fiber is best known for its stool-bulking ability. This type of fiber passes through our digestive system almost untouched and keeps our intestinal tract healthy and full. Most insoluble fiber is found in vegetables and grains.
Soluble fiber has more of an effect on our body’s chemistry than insoluble fiber. Research has linked soluble fiber to lower blood cholesterol, improved satiety, and improved blood sugar levels. By gelling up in the stomach, soluble fiber helps you feel fuller sooner and for longer periods!
If incorporating fiber for the mere sake of just being healthier isn’t enough, several studies are showing that fiber is linked to weight loss. In fact, the mere act of adding non-starchy, non-sugary foods that are high in fiber can be enough to move the scale and cut the fat.
A higher fiber diet could be easier than you think! Considering Americans consume only 10% of what people did 100 years ago and the increase in obesity in our nation is outrageous, it’s worth taking a closer look at our friend fiber.
The tricky part is finding fiber-containing foods and incorporating them into our daily routine without overdoing it with starch or sugar, which often accompanies the fiber. With my list below, it’s easy!! If you aren’t getting in enough fiber, here’s an easy solution!!
A typical American’s daily fiber intake is 10-15g. The minimum recommended daily amount is between 25g and 35g daily, and our Paleolithic ancestors were believed to have consumed up to 100 grams a day!
Here are some easy and healthy ideas to increase fiber in your diet and feel more full after a meal! You’ll notice that grains are not included in this list…
Choose higher fiber veggies first! Here’s a list of some great ones:
- Artichokes- 10 g per artichoke
- Brussels Sprouts- 4g per 1 cup
- Broccoli- 5g per 1 cup
- Corn- 5g per ½ cup (though this is higher in starch)
- Acorn Squash- 4.5g per ½ cup
- Peas- 4.5g per ½ cup
- Avocado- 13.5g per 1 medium (higher in healthy fat)
- Edamame- 8g per 1 cup
Higher fiber fruits can also help you reach your goal:
- Raspberries- 8 grams per 1 cup
- Grapefruit- 3g per 1 medium
- Pear- 5g per 1 medium
- Blackberries- 7.5g per 1 cup
- Mango- 4g per 1 medium (watch the sugar)
- Kiwi- 2.5g per 1 medium
- Orange- 3g per 1 medium
- Apricots- 2g per 3 small (watch the sugar)
- Figs- 14g per 1 cup (watch the sugar)
- Prunes- 12g per 1 cup (watch the sugar)
- Almonds- 4g per 1 cup
Eating high fiber foods for weight loss is important for building a well rounded program. If most of the foods that you’re consuming are real, whole foods, then you typically don’t need to worry about eating high fiber foods for weight loss because the fiber naturally follows a real-food diet.