You’ve counted grams of fat, gone low-carb, considered the GI of your foods, cut down on sugar, and you’re still overweight … what’s left to track?
You might find paying attention to your fiber intake helps shift those pounds.
Back in the 1980s, the F Plan hit huge success by promoting a high-fiber diet. Although our understanding of nutrition has advanced considerably since then, most diet books and gurus still recommend eating plenty of fiber.
The US government recommended daily fiber intake is 25g and the UK suggests a minimum of 18g.
So why is fiber so good for you? And how can you make sure you’re exceeding those minimum targets?
Four Key Benefits of Fiber
- Fiber keeps you full for longer, meaning that you’re less likely to be hungry again just a couple of hours after a meal.
- Eating fiber – especially if you’ve just begun a diet and the volume of food you eat is lower than before – can avoid bowel problems such as constipation.
- A diet rich in fiber helps prevent heart problems.
- Fiber-rich foods bulk out a meal, meaning you’ll be satisfied with fewer calories.
For information about the science behind recommending fiber, see Fiber: What is is, and Why you need it.
Eight Great Sources of Fiber
Most of us know some of the common sources of fiber – bran flakes, for instance (typically 6g fiber in a 40g serving), or wholemeal bread (5.1g fiber in two thin slices). But these are loads of other ways to meet your fiber target:
- Many varieties of beans: baked beans, kidney beans. (7.9g fiber in half a tin of baked beans).
- Potatoes – leave the skin on. (4.8g fiber in a medium-sized, 300g, potato)
- Wholegrain pasta – the difference between white and wholegrain pasta is not so noticeable as the difference between white and brown bread. (8.1g fiber in a 90g dried weight serving)
- Lentils – great in pies, soups, and vegetarian dishes. (4.9g fiber in 100g lentils)
- Mixed fruit, nuts and/or seeds – often available in snack-sized bags. (A typical mix has 4.7g fiber in a 50g serving)
- Raspberries – surprisingly high in fiber (6.5g fiber in a 100g serving)
- Crispbreads – a great alternative to a sandwich. (6g fiber in 4 crispbreads)
- Oatmeal – add fresh or dried fruit for even more fiber. (3.5g fiber in 50g oats, 1.5g fiber in 25g raisins)
Are you eating enough fiber? Why not share your favourite fiber-full foods in the Comments section below?