Fiber has often been overlooked as a key nutrient in health food trends. But now fiber is breaking away from this stigma and regaining popularity as the “good carb” can aid in weight management and improving your overall health.
What Exactly is Fiber?
Gut health is all the rage these days, and while some foods like fermented kimchi and kombucha are great, fiber is really the best thing for your gut. Let’s break it down.
Fiber is the indigestible part of the carbohydrate, known for keeping you on a regular bathroom schedule. You can find it in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains–some having higher quantities of fiber than others–but not in animal products. But besides keeping you regular, fiber can prevent diseases, keep you full without overeating, detox your body, and keep your energy levels high.
Medical professionals and dietitians recommend that women consume, at the minimum, 25 grams per day, while men should aim for 38 grams. However, due to the rising popularity of low carb diets, Americans are consuming far less than the minimum recommended, and are missing out on the key benefits that fiber presents.
Why is Fiber Good for You?
What’s cool about fiber is that it contains no calories (yay for weight loss!), but plenty of health benefits. Fiber is scientifically proven to:
- Promote regular digestion
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Boost metabolism
- Act as a prebiotic for good gut health
- Lower cholesterol and heart disease
- Lower risks for certain types of cancers
Types of Fiber: Soluble vs. Insoluble
Dietary fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble, and it’s important to get a mix of both.
Soluble fiber swells in the stomach and forms a gel-like consistency that binds with fat, toxins, and excess calories. Instead of these elements being absorbed into your bloodstream, they will be ushered out through the digestive tract.
More soluble fiber → less calories and toxins in your system → weight loss and clearer skin
What Foods are Highest in Soluble Fiber?
- Oat bran or oatmeal
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools and acts like a broom to speed up digestion, preventing constipation.
What Foods are Highest in Insoluble Fiber?
- Wheat bran
- Whole wheat
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Dark leafy greens
Most fruits and vegetables contain both types of fiber. However, some commonly recommended fruits (e.g. apples, bananas, etc.) actually contain much more sugar than fiber, so it’s important to be mindful of this if you are watching your sugar intake. [read more: “The Dark Side of Doctor Recommended Fruits”]
Final Thoughts on Fiber
While fiber is a great weight management food, it’s equally great for disease prevention (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.). Even if you follow a low carb diet, you can still reap the benefits, while incorporating more fiber.
Not sure how much fiber to eat in a day or need some high fiber recipes? Try Yes Health for free for 14 days to see what your health coaching team recommends for you.
Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.