The Fiber Solution

From cookies and cakes to candy canes and chocolates, sugar can seem unavoidable over the holidays. Boosting your fiber intake is a great way to help keep your blood sugar in check.

The two categories of fiber – soluble and insoluble – are easily confused. Soluble is the kind that binds to water, forming a gummy gel in your gastrointestinal system, so not only does it help you to feel full, but it helps stabilize 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, on the other hand, refers to 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 these two digestive dreams-come-true: You want to get plenty of both in your diet.

One of the best things about fiber and dieting is that it’s almost counterintuitive: 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 stay focused, alert, feeling full and satisfied until lunchtime. So it’s more than a mood lifter – it’s insurance that you’re less likely to overindulge by reaching for a sugary snack.

Happy holidays!

Kathy Smith