The ONE Ingredient You Need For Lifelong Weight-Loss!
We’re all looking for a way to simplify weight loss and healthy eating. There is, of course, no magic pill, no gimmicky singular “trick” to shedding pounds; any sensible diet incorporates a vast spectrum of factors to be considered, from calories to vitamins, ingredients to portions. But there is one key element that seems to transcend all the other weight loss secrets, one fast and reliable vehicle to fat loss: Dietary Fiber.
Chances are good that this isn’t the first time you’ve been told dietary fiber is good for you. Grandmothers have implored us to eat more fruit, veggies and whole grains for centuries. But an onslaught of new research and flashy media bites has given the classic f-word a sexy makeover. With cereals, yogurts, and even chocolate bars boasting “added fiber” on their labels, fiber is suddenly the must-have diet product of the moment. And for good reason. Here’s the skinny:
The Insoluble/Soluble Solution: Dietary fiber is the part of a plant-based food that is not digested. The two categories of dietary fiber – soluble and insoluble – are easily confused. Soluble fiber is the kind that binds to water, forming a gummy gel in your gastrointestinal system. This slows down the emptying of your stomach, helping you to feel fuller, longer, and stabilizing your blood sugar so you can avoid the post-meal “crash” (and remember, that crash doesn’t just zap your energy – it can also lead to weight gain). Examples include oatmeal, beans, barley, and fruits with edible skin (like pears and apples). Insoluble fiber doesn’t bind to water, which means it passes through your gut relatively intact. You can think of it as the “roughage” that sweeps foods through your system. This category includes most whole grains, fruits, veggies and bran cereals. The bottom line on reaping the benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber, the digestive dreams-come-true: You want to get plenty of both types in your diet.
The More-Is-Less Effect: One of the best things about dietary fiber and weight-loss is that it’s almost counter-intuitive: In many ways, the more you eat, the better. As mentioned above, fiber can actually help you feel fuller longer. So unlike the grouchiness or lightheadedness between meals that’s often associated with “dieting,” a fiber-filled breakfast helps you keep your eye on the tiger, feeling full and satisfied until lunchtime. It’s more than a mood lifter – it’s insurance that you’re less likely to “cheat” by reaching for a sugary snack. And there’s more: Eating additional dietary fiber can actually help your body absorb fewer calories, since your body doesn’t digest carbohydrates that come solely from fiber – they simply pass on through. And research indicates that the long-term weigh-loss effects of dietary fiber (beyond the heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering benefits we already know about) can be significant. A 12-year study at Harvard suggested that women who eat high-fiber diets were half as likely to become obese as their counterparts who ate low-fiber foods. It’s no wonder the International Journal of Obesity determined that there are two dominant factors when it comes to creating body fat: physical activity and – you guessed it – dietary fiber.
Fiber’s Many Forms: The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women consume 25 grams of dietary fiber a day. I’ve put together a list of great foods that are high in fiber. And for a quick boost, while you could always reach for one of the popular, fiber-fortified yogurts, there is no shortage of easy, grab-and-go options. My favorite is PGX, a plant-based fiber that comes in capsule or powder form. PGX isn’t just a convenient fiber source – it’s also a powerful weight loss tool. (And here’s a bonus tip: If I have a glass of wine at night, I’ll have some PGX beforehand to slow down the absorption of alcohol. And while it may not yet be scientifically proven, I swear it helps prevent hangovers!).
The bottom line: Make a commitment to hit the recommended 25 grams per day of dietary fiber. This one, simple change will forever alter the way you lose and keep off weight. Filling up on whole foods that are naturally packed with fiber, and supplementing with products such as PGX, will ensure that you get a healthy variety, complete with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Use my cheat sheet to buff up the fiber in your diet, and start experiencing all the benefits it has to offer.