What exactly is fiber? Fiber is a part of the structure of plants and helps build plant molecules, including cellulose, lignins and pectin. Fiber actually contains zero calories since humans essentially can’t digest it, and although it’s found in carbohydrate foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains; it doesn’t contribute any carbs to our diets. Whole grains are not the best source of fiber, as they contain anti-nutrients and glutinous.
Fiber can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Soluble fiber soaks up water like a sponge and turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion; it slows the process of digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. Most people need upwards of 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.
Consuming an extra 14 grams of fiber each day can cut your calorie intake by a full 10 percent. Research shows that people who consume more fiber (as low as 20 grams per day) weigh an average of 8 pounds lighter than people who consume low fiber (closer to 10 grams per day).
Things you can do to convert to a high fiber diet:
1. Rather than adding high-fiber foods all at once, add just one or two servings a day to your regular diet for a week.
2. Possibly switching from white to whole wheat or multi-grain bread for your sandwich at lunch, or adding a salad at dinner.
3. Let your body adjust, then add another serving the following week, and so on. Giving your body a chance to get used to processing the increase in fiber will make the transition easier and reduce the amount of intestinal gas you'll have to deal with.
4. Load up on water. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water will help to prevent uncomfortable intestinal gas and bloating.
5. Eliminate other foods that cause gas. If you're already overwhelming your gut with fiber, cut out other foods that create gas. Try limiting or avoiding sugar-free candy and gum that contain sorbitol and gassy carbonated beverages
On a last note, one of the keys to getting ride of that dreaded belly bulge and revealing that coveted six-pack is a diet high in fiber.
A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!