by Dr. Felicia D. Stoler
People often tell me they’ve given up on weight-loss diets because they are afraid of being hungry. So when something reduces your appetite so that you take in fewer calories – without white-knuckling it around food – that’s a good thing. That’s one reason why I’m a huge fan of dietary fiber; it helps you feel full so you end up eating less.
Certain fibers also support your digestive health so you won’t feel bloated. We’ve all been there, when a bloated tummy prevents our favorite jeans from zipping. It’s discouraging! But there is an easy way to help keep that from happening.
Adult women need at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and adult men should aim for 38 grams per day. Most of us only eat about half of that amount. In particular, you need plenty of soluble fiber to help food move through your system at just the right pace. Since we’re not getting enough fiber in our diets, it’s no wonder we’re constantly hungry!
Here are some ways you can incorporate more fiber into your diet:
- Try adding ground flax seed into your food. It’s a great thickener for tomato sauce or soup.
- Load up on side dishes, particularly those made with beans, lentils and multiple grains. Fill your plate with lots of colorful vegetables. Your meals should always look appealing.
- Switch to fruit for dessert. The beauty of high-fiber fruit desserts is that you won’t be as tempted to over-indulge. Fruit cobblers are a good choice for chillier evenings. Frozen grapes are fun and easy in warmer weather!
- If you’re prone to feeling gassy and bloated, you might also want to want to increase your intake of fermented cabbage (kimchi), sauerkraut or yogurt. Fermented foods provide probiotics that nourish your gut bacteria and help to normalize your digestive system. If you can’t stand fermented cabbage, guar fiber (a food addictive commonly used for thickening) is also a probiotic. It has no taste or aroma, and it is easy to digest.
A high-fiber diet may not sound glamorous, but it’s healthy, effective and nutritious. It includes a lot of the micronutrients your body needs to function at its best. You may feel more energetic, which could lead to burning more calories by taking an extra lap around the block while walking the dog.
Oh, and there’s another pleasant “side effect” to this high-fiber diet. In addition to losing weight, you’re balancing your digestive system, which supports a stronger immune system. You may not get sick as often. That’s the kind of side effect we can all embrace!
About the Author:
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM, FAND, America’s Health & Wellness Expert™, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, exercise physiologist and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. She was the host for TLC’s reality show, Honey We’re Killing the Kids. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus 2011). She specializes in integrating behavior modification to influence positive health outcomes.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not reflect the views of the Your Weight Matters Campaign, or its host organization, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), the organization’s National Board of Directors or its staff. The OAC does not endorse any merchandise, program or hyperlinks mentioned in this blog post.