Let’s talk about the most important tools to weight loss. They are almost a secret because everyone finds them a little boring to talk about. In fact, most people only start getting interested in the topic when they are much older. And then it’s all they want to talk about.
The most effective tools to weight loss and weight maintenance are fiber and water.
Where can you find fiber and water? Not surprisingly you find them in whole plant foods. Like vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes. The exact same foods I promote in my book BREAK THE CYCLE and in all my online challenges.
What has no fiber? Animal products and fats/oils.
What has little or no fiber? Processed foods.
In my article on HOW TO AVOID DIVERTICULOSIS you learn how important fiber is for colon health. But what you might not realize is that a high fiber diet is critical for weight loss and weight maintenance.
Basically, fiber refers to carbohydrates that cannot be digested by your gut. It is classified as either soluble or insoluble. It depends on whether it dissolves in water (soluble) or not (insoluble).
Here are the FOUR Ds to help you remember why fiber is so important for weight loss.
1. DILUTION OF CALORIES
Vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes are the foods with the lowest caloric density and highest in fiber. If you fill up on these foods you 'dilute' the number of calories consumed at every meal.
To dilute your calories further, add a cup or two of non-starchy vegetables to your meal. This way you can reduce the amount of grains or beans in your bowl and not even notice it. Check out my stir fry recipes in the vegetable section of the website. Each recipe makes 8 cups which you can add to all your dishes throughout the week.
2. DISTENTION OF THE STOMACH
Eating a lot of fiber fills you up and activates the stretch receptors in the stomach. These receptors then signal the brain that you have had enough to eat.
So, start every meal with non-starchy vegetables first. This engages the stretch receptors early. So, there isn’t much room left for more calorically dense foods. In short, start every meal with a salad. Then move on to steamed vegetables or vegetable soup. Finally, if you have room, eat your legumes and grains.
3. DELAY IN STOMACH EMPTYING
High fiber foods take longer to break down in the stomach.
So, delay in stomach emptying is simply due to the amount of high fiber foods you have eaten. Eating any whole food plant-based meal will automatically delay stomach emptying. This will keep you feeling full for much longer.
4. DUMPING OF CALORIES
When you eat fiber rich foods not all the calories are absorbed by the body. Some of those calories are trapped in the fibers of the food.
The more fiber we have in the diet, the less calories we absorb, the more calories are dumped on the other end. Because it is not the number of calories that we consume, it is the number of the calories that get absorbed.
So, the amount of fiber in a high fiber diet alone can make you absorb between five to 10% less calories in your diet.
Besides being great for weight loss, a high fiber diet also:
Is Good for your Microbiome
Fiber functions mostly as bulking agents, adding content to your stool. Fiber does not get digested. It tends to reach your large intestine relatively unchanged. Also, there are certain soluble fibers help feed the friendly gut bacteria. These bacteria are essential for good health.
Inflammation is associated with many lifestyle conditions, including obesity. Fiber consumption has been linked to reduced inflammation.
Keeps you Feeling Full Longer
Fiber with a high viscosity may provide increased fullness. It also reduces appetite. Viscous, soluble fiber is found only in plant foods.
Beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and oats are particularly rich in viscous fiber.
By the way, you may be thinking, why can’t I just maintain my crappy diet and take fiber supplements? Well, the body knows better. You can't fool your body into 'thinking' you are eating real food.
Fiber supplements are usually ineffective for weight loss. The exception is glucomannan which I will discuss another time. So, getting your fiber from whole plant foods is better than supplementing.
Remember you can not supplement your way out of a poor diet. Get your fiber and water from fresh, water filled whole plant-based foods. And watch the magic happen for your weight loss and weight maintenance goals.
Article: Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight — But Only a Specific Type (healthline.com)
Presentation: Dr. Rosane Oliveira on the 2021 The Truth About Weight Loss Summit, www.betterlifesummits.com.