Dietary Fiber? What is it and how can it help us achieve weight loss or weight management goals?
Dietary Fibers come from plants that we eat. The fiber is part of the plant like fruits, vegetables and grains that can not be broken down or digested in our stomachs. Fiber passes through our gastrointestinal system undigested. The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble.
Different Types of Dietary Fiber: What are they and what do they do to help us manage our weight?
Soluble Fibers are found in fruits, vegetables and legumes. Soluble fiber slows down digestion by attracting water to form a sticky or gummy like gel. This gel delays the stomach from emptying, therefore, making you feel full. This feeling of fullness can help you manage your weight. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol therefore decreasing your risk for heart disease. In addition, the delayed stomach emptying may also play a role in controlling blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
What Foods Can You Find Soluble Fiber In?
Apples, pears,plums and apricots with their skins on, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, dried prunes, apricots or figs, mango, celery, carrots,cucumbers, nuts, beans, flaxseeds, oatmeal, oat bran, beans and dried peas. Psyllium is also a source of soluble fiber e.g., metamucil.
Insoluble Fibers can help promote Gastrointestinal health. This type of fiber includes the hard to chew part of grains and vegetables and fruit.Insoluble fibers can decrease the risk of constipation and or diverticulosis. We can not digest these types of fibers. Insoluble fiber travels throughout our digestive tract to help push out waste. This fiber adds bulk to your stools and makes bowel movements easier to pass.
What Foods Can Find Insoluble Fiber In?
Whole grains (look for the 1st ingredient on the label of the bread or pasta or cracker or flour to list “whole grain or whole wheat”), wheat bran, nuts,seeds, barley, couscous, brown rice and bulgar.
Vegetables including dark green leafy vegetables, skins of fruits e.g., apples, pears, grapes, dried fruits like prunes, apricots and dates.
How Much Fiber Do I Need Daily?
The recommendations for daily fiber intake are:
Adults 50 years old or less:
Men-38 grams of fiber daily
Women-25 grams of fiber daily
Adults 51 years old or more:
Men 30 grams of fiber daily
Women- 21 grams of fiber daily
**** Increase your intake of dietary fiber slowly and drink adequate fluids to help the fiber work at its best and prevent any Gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating and gas. ****