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Monday, January 23, 2012

31 Days of Weight Loss Tips: Day 23 Eat High-Fiber Foods

Photo by Jeremy Keith on Flickr
Eat as many high-fiber fruits and vegetables as your stomach can hold -- and watch the weight fall off.

Changing to healthier eating habits, often leaves many people feeling deprived of food and hungry all of the time. This is because people usually cut back on all of the food they consume. That's only half right. Yes, cut back on all the high calorie, non-nutritive junk food -- but eat all fruit and vegetables your stomach can hold. Seriously.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' daily recommended amount of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

Fiber filled vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, artichokes and fruits like strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas and pears are great because they make you feel full and satisfied.

Nuts and grains are also excellent sources of fiber -- but unlike vegetables and fruit, they should consumed in moderation.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is the kind that dissolves in water and adds to the fullness effect because once it comes in contact with water, it forms a gel in the stomach. Insoluble fiber is the kind that does not dissolve and stays intact as it passes through the intestines. It adds bulk to food which makes you feel full. It also speeds up the passage and elimination of food in the gut.

Not only does fiber add heft to your meals, it also slows the increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. The bulk from fiber in food slows the passage of food from the stomach to the intestines which is how blood sugar levels are maintained relatively even. Drastic up and down insulin levels adds to fat storage and is a risk factor for diabetes.

At the start of each meal, eat all the vegetables you can, first. I've been known to eat a whole head of lettuce in one salad! So, don't be afraid to eat more vegetables, you can't eat too many. Starting off each meal with vegetables will get fiber in your stomach which will fill you up. Then you're less likely to overeat and the fiber in your stomach will work to keep blood sugar levels even as you eat the rest of your meal.

Check out this list from the Mayo Clinic for high-fiber foods.

Resources:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 
WebMD
Mayo Clinic

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