Posted on Dec 01, 2020, 4 p.m.
Weight loss, there is no question that for some it can be a challenge. All those fad diets that we seem to be bombarded with may help us to drop a few pounds in the short term, they really are not practical or sustainable, and most times they really are not healthy.
Fad diets often promote cutting out entire food groups and sticking to strict meal plans that will make you feel guilty for eating the slice of pizza or scoop of ice cream, and not only that but such diets if you do slip or stop you are almost guaranteed to put all those pounds back on faster than you lost them plus a few extras of its friends. This scenario is all too familiar to many of us that struggle with weight.
Focusing on a healthy balanced diet is a more practical and sustainable way to lose weight that is actually backed by science, unlike all of those fad diets. One component of a healthy diet is fiber, focusing on fiber may be an effective strategy to help you shed some unwanted pounds and keep them off. While fiber doesn’t really make for the most exciting topic of discussion, but not only does it help digestion and to keep things moving along to the loo, this essential nutrient is also important to overall health and wellness which includes maintaining a healthy weight.
According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber is a part of plant-based foods that the body can’t digest or absorb that comes in 2 categories, soluble and insoluble, but to get the most benefits you should be consuming both types by eating a wide variety of high fiber foods.
Soluble fiber combines with water in the intestine to form a gel-like material that has been found to help reduce cholesterol and aid in blood sugar control that can be found in beans, apples, oats, carrots, peas, psyllium, citrus fruits, and barley. Insoluble fiber helps with digestion by increasing stool bulk and it can be found in nuts, beans, veggies, fruits, wheat bran and whole wheat flour.
Harvard Health Publishing suggests that the average American is not getting enough fiber. The USDA recommends that most women should be getting 25 grams of fiber a day and most men should be getting 38 grams a day, but research shows that most of us are only getting about 10-15 grams a day.
For those looking to increase fiber intake, gradually increase consumption of fiber by a few grams a day to help avoid gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and gas that can occur when too much fiber is added to the diet too quickly. It is also recommended to increase fiber with whole foods rather than supplements as this will also provide an assortment of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as well as be more satiating than a supplement alone.
Raspberries are one of the best high fiber food choices for weight loss. One cup contains 9 grams of fiber and only 80 calories according to the USDA. These nutrient-dense low calories berries are great for weight loss. These tasty berries make a great go-to for snacks and desserts, as they are fairly flexible going great as a salad topping, in smoothies, in Greek yogurt, with cereal, frozen, or fresh on their own.
Blackberries are almost as good as raspberries when it comes to a go-to choice for weight loss. These berries contain 7 grams of fiber per cup according to the USDA, making them perfect choices to add to oatmeal, pair with cheese, or eat them by the handful for a snack.
Chickpeas are gaining much attention for good reason, these versatile legumes are savoury and go great in salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, or whipped up for a dessert hummus. According to the USDA, one cup of canned chickpeas contains 13.1 grams of fiber, 263 calories and 14.7 grams of plant-based protein which will help you to feel full for longer.
Most beans make a great addition to a weight loss plan, especially when used to help cut back on meat to reduce calories and fat. For example, just one cup of canned black beans contains 12 grams of fiber, 240 calories and 16 grams of plant-based protein.
Chia seeds are a great flexible source of fiber. These tiny seeds contain 60 calories, 2 grams of plant-based protein, and 4 grams of fiber in one teaspoon, according to the USDA. You can use them as a salad topping, put them into smoothies, add them to soup as well as baked goodies. When left to sit in liquid they also create a gel-like texture that can be used for jams and puddings.
Lentils are part of the legume family and they can be used in many ways ranging from soups and stews, to salads and tacos, and veggies burgers. According to the USDA, one-quarter cup of lentils contains 11 grams of fiber, 80 calories, and 10 grams of plant-based protein.
If you haven’t tried quinoa, now may be a good time. According to the USDA one cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories, 8.14 grams of plant-based protein and 5.18 grams of fiber. Not only is quinoa a complete protein but it contains an impressive nutrient list to help alleviate hunger and keep you feeling fuller for longer. You can use this healthy choice to make flour, soups, salads, beer, in smoothies and to replace grains for those avoiding gluten. Quinoa’s claim to fame is being rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids making it one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods that you can find on this planet to help improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels and assist in your weight loss journey.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement