High Fiber Foods and Weight Management
Eating high fiber foods is essential to effective weight management and overall good health. Fiber is the part of plant-based foods that our bodies cannot digest. For this reason, fiber has a number of beneficial effects. Meats and dairy products do not contain fiber.
High fiber foods require more chewing and thus slower eating which creates a feeling of fullness which occurs sooner while making you feel full for longer periods of time when compared to refined (little to no fiber) carbohydrate foods. High fiber foods tend to fill you up without filling you out.
Fiber also helps to keep bowel movements regular which is very important in cleansing the body of carcinogens and other harmful compounds that accumulate in the intestines. Quick removal of these compounds from the body greatly reduces the potential of developing diverticulitis and colon cancer. Fiber also mediates the absorption of fat therefore reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
The greatest single benefit of eating complex carbohydrate / high fiber foods is that fiber limits the digestibility of plant starches while helping to buffer natural sugars. Fiber causes the slow release of glucose into the blood stream thus triggering modest, gradual increases in insulin. This is very important since glucose and insulin ideally should move together gently and within a limited range. When refined carbohydrate foods and sugar are eaten, glucose and insulin levels in the blood sharply increase and then drop in a jerking type of manner. These extreme movements are dangerous. This can lead to gaining weight along with creating chronic and life threatening health conditions over time.
Unfortunately, most dietary carbohydrates today are in the form of highly refined grain products which are devoid of fiber. White flour-based convenience products with extended shelf lives are marketed as healthy, wholesome, products that have gained widespread acceptance. Little do people know that the government in 1942 mandated manufacturer’s to enrich white flour with vitamins.. B1, B2, B3, and iron in response to health problems caused by deficiencies in these vital nutrients. Despite this, white flour is still missing other nutrients.
Similarly, white sugar which is a highly refined product which comes from nutrient and fiber rich sugar cane, provides nothing but empty calories. All of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals have been removed in the refining process.
Developed societies around the world have all noted and experienced increases in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease as a direct result of an increased consumption of refined carbohydrate foods and sugar which are devoid of fiber. It is clear that the departure from eating high fiber foods has had a very negative impact on the health of people around the world.
The best high fiber foods are fresh, whole, natural foods such as:
– cruciferous vegetables………..broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and others
– dry beans, lentils, and peas,
– whole grains such as oats, barley, wheat
– fresh fruits
– brown rice
Weight loss and long-term weight management are both greatly facilitated by incorporating high fiber foods into your daily diet. It is advised to do this gradually given the fact that increasing fiber in your diet can initially cause diarrhea and bloating. It is also important to drink more water when consuming high fiber foods to avoid constipation.