Change Nothing About Your Diet And Still Lose Weight

The title of this post may sound like a scam, but it turns out this may actually be possible. How? Fiber. Fiber is one of those things we have a vague idea about. We know it’s supposed to be good for us and that we should be eating more of it, but that’s about as far as our knowledge goes.

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods, it’s essentially a bulking agent, and it falls into two different categories, soluble and insoluble. So lets have a look at each of theses types of fiber and their individual benefits:

Soluble Fiber

When soluble fiber is ingested it becomes a gel like substance. One of it’s most important functions is it’s absorption of bile. The body uses bile to transport and remove excess levels of cholesterol, toxins and estrogen. Soluble fiber also aids in blood sugar regulation as it slows down the rate that sugars are released into the blood stream.

Key points:

  • Dissolves/breaks down in water
  • Acts like a sponge, absorbing waste and toxins
  • Helps to regulate blood sugar
  • Absorbs bile

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is probably what most of us think of when we hear the word “fiber”. It helps to keep us regular by adding bulk that provides resistance for the colon.

key points:

  • Does not break down in water
  • Acts like a broom, sweeping the colon clean
  • Helps control the bacterial balance within the colon

To be healthy we need both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Fiber And Calorie Density

Calorie density refers to the amount of calories contained in a specific food. High calorie dense foods contain more calories than low calorie dense foods for the same quantity of food. This basically means you could eat a larger amount of a low calorie dense food, without eating a ton of calories. Fiber rich foods generally have a low calorie density, they also make you feel fuller for longer, so you are eating less calories and still feeling satisfied. Which leads us to our next point:

Fiber Helps Suppress Appetite On A Hormonal Level

Fiber acts as a natural appetite suppressant. It will help you to feel fuller faster and longer, meaning you are much less likely to over eat.

Fiber helps suppress the appetite in two ways. It physically expands in the stomach which creates the sensation of fullness, but it also works on a hormonal level.  Fiber promotes the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK is produced in the intestinal tract and and acts as a messenger, telling the brain “I’m full”. A diet high in fiber will produce more CCK than a low fiber diet.

This is how it works:

high fiber food -> breaks down in stomach -> travels to small intestine ->

CCK is released ->“I’m full” signal sent to brain ->

brain tells you “you are full, stop eating”

People who are overweight or obese generally have a very low fiber intake. Meaning they aren’t producing enough CCK and continue to over eat.

Fiber Helps To Stabilise Blood Sugar

When you eat carbohydrates the body turns them into sugars which is transported to the cells to be used for immediate energy, the rest is transported to the liver. The liver will hold onto some of the sugar, and the remainder is stored in the muscles as glycogen. Any excess will be converted to body fat. So far so good? Ok let’s go a little deeper.

The body releases insulin when we eat carbohydrates, insulin is what allows us to absorb the sugars from carbohydrates and use them for energy. When we eat refined carbs or high glycemic index (G.I.) foods the body is flooded with insulin, the liver is unable to deal with the sudden surge of sugar and so it is stored as fat.

So What Has This Got To Do With Fiber?

Well fiber helps to slow down the release of sugars from carbohydrates, causing a much more gradual rise in blood sugar. This allows the liver to convert sugar to energy more efficiently, and much less likely to store it as fat.  So if you are planning on eating a high G.I. food, eating some fiber with it will actually help to lower the G.I. rating of the food. It’s worth noting that it’s soluble fiber that has this effect. Oats and oat bran are two great examples of soluble fiber. Apples, oranges and carrots are also good sources.

The Really Cool Benefit From Fiber

Fiber eliminates calories you have already consumed! With every gram of fiber you eat you will excrete calories. In the video below Brenda Watson, author of “The Fiber 35 Diet”, describes this effect as the “Fiber Flush Formula”.  This is something I wasn’t aware of until recently, but it sounds great.

She actually says that if you changed nothing in your diet other than adding 35 grams of fiber each day you can lose weight. Imagine the results you could get if you switched to a healthier diet and added in some exercise as well.

Fiber The Missing Food Group

It’s no secret that the rapid increase in obesity is linked with the equally rapid consumption of highly processed foods, but it turns out fiber plays a big part in this widespread epidemic. As I said above fiber signals the brain that you have eaten enough and the brain then tells you to stop eating. Well if you take a look at processed foods they contain practically no fiber and in a lot of cases, none at all. So you are eating all this food but not getting the signal to stop. You have to rely on your will power alone to try and control when you think you have had enough, which doesn’t always work out.

Why Do Processed Foods Contain So Little Fiber?

Money. Basically fiber is removed to extend the shelf life of processed foods. If the food was in it’s natural state, containing fiber, it would be much more perishable. This would mean manufacturers could not ship their products cross country or over seas, and keep them on the shelves for months on end without spoiling. And what’s worse is that the foods are also loaded with sugars, salt and damaged oils/fats.

What Are Good Sources Of Fiber

Fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains like oats, quinoa and buckwheat. All the foods we know we are supposed to be eating, right?

I have made a conscious effort to increase my fiber intake over the last few months, mostly adding loads more vegetables, and I have to admit I do feel more satisfied after eating and rarely feel hungry.

One thing I would say is that it’s a good idea to gradually increase your intake of fiber rather than just suddenly jumping to a high fiber diet to let your body adapt. It’s also important to really increase your daily intake of water if you are planning on upping your fiber intake, otherwise you might find yourself becoming…”less regular” 🙂

As usual, let me know your thoughts. Are you eating enough fiber?

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