One of the most important and overlooked ways to loose weight and burn fat more effectively, while also dramatically lowering our risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes is simply consuming more fiber.
Fiber has long been associated with grains, whole grain sources of fiber have value, especially oats, oat bran and barley for example. It is also the fiber we get from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds that provide the fuel for weight loss!
First lets breakdown our two sources of fiber
Soluble fiber dissolves in water forming viscous gels. This precious fiber gel bypass the digestion of the small intestine and are easily fermented by the microflora of the large intestine. Best sources are fruit, especially high pectin fruit like apples, pears and plums. Also, avocado, artichokes, lentils, beans and veggies like broccoli, carrots and onions are also great sources.
Insoluble fibers are not water soluble. They do not form gels due to their water insolubility, they act more like a bulking agent in the gut assisting in elimination and preventing constipation and the formation of certain gut conditions like SIBO that often arise from chronic constipation or sluggish bowels. Insoluble fiber comes largely from whole grains but also from a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. But most foods contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber. Beets, flax seeds, cauliflower and green beans to name a few very balanced fiber sources.
Weight loss, especially fat loss depends on your GUT!
Taking in higher amounts of plant fiber increase nutrient absorption in the gut, and provides the prebiotic support to the gut to make more beneficial bacteria strains and reduce the bad bacteria that can contribute to weight gain by preventing IBS and leaky gut associated with weight gain. This also reduces the risk of autoimmune conditions that can increase weight gain. We are even at the stage in Epigenetic research (the association between external adjustments namely in diet and lifestyle that can turn genes on or off and modify gene expression) where scientists have identified specific gene variants associated with fiber and it’s role specifically over turning on abdominal fat loss!
Use fiber to lose weight by controlling inflammation, preventing disease and managing hormones
Soluble fiber and its gel like quality provides a barrier to prevent harmful toxins that can in the long term increase cancer risk, from making contact with the mucosal cell lining of the gut. Both fiber sources increase binding between bile acids and toxins, medications, fat and cholesterol, excess hormones and speeds up transit time and emptying completely to move these excess burdens out of our body faster! More fiber also increases antioxidants in the gut to control inflammation. Excess hormones in conditions like PCOS and Estrogen dominance and PMDD have a big connection to increased body fat especially in the midsection. If we can move toxins, excess hormones and medications out of the body faster and create more antioxidant production and mediate inflammation we will derive more weight loss and where it often counts most, in the midsection!
Use fiber as a natural appetite suppressant
Fiber gives us a feeling of fullness longer while regulating our macro nutrient intake within a meal, especially fats and carbohydrates, better controlling and lowering insulin for reduced midsection visceral fat. At the same time fiber also drives up the appetite suppressant hormone GLP-1 that our own body produces! Giving us a real physiological sense of fullness and satiety.
What to remember
Many people make the mistake of turning a lower calorie weight loss diet into a low fiber diet. Instead aim for a high fiber intake that will speed up your weight loss and especially fat loss by supporting gut, hormones, fat and cholesterol metabolism and blood sugar balance. At the same time you make your weight loss plan a safe and beneficial plan for your overall health, driving down inflammation and disease risk, instead of turning it up. High fiber foods by nature are low calorie to moderate calorie foods so they always can work into a calorie reduced weight loss plan. Eat a variety of fiber sources daily and aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily to aim for maximum weight loss.
Best every day fiber dense foods
Apples, avocado, berries, pears, plums, artichoke, beets, broccoli, carrots, green beans, onions, oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, white beans, lentils.
Best functional and superfood fiber sources you can also add to your weekly intake
Aloe, acacia fiber, glucomannan, ground flax seeds, soaked chia seeds/chia pudding.