How fibre helps with weight loss
Looking for ways to curb hunger pangs? Nix the appetite suppressants and those headline-grabbing hoodia supplements. Instead, gradually increase the amount of fibre in your diet. Read on to learn how this humble nutrient helps you lose pounds or maintain your healthy weight
Source: Web exclusive: July 2010
Chew on this
High-fibre foods often require more munching time. This slows down your eating, which allows your brain to register feelings of fullness. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, studies show that women who consume more dietary fibre are half as likely to be obese as those who consume less.
Sometimes, bigger is better
Fibre is thirsty like a sponge’it can soak up many times its own weight in water. ‘[Fibre] absorbs water in your mouth and passing into your stomach. A high-fibre food swells up in your stomach and fills you up faster,’ explains Natalie Brown, a registered dietitian in White Rock, B.C.
Slow and steady
Complex carbs, such as fibre, break down slowly. Fibre-rich foods take longer to digest, so they stay in your stomach longer, which keeps you feeling full and discourages overeating. Brown recommends some simple strategies to boost fibre intake: Choose whole-grain and whole-wheat products instead of those made from white flour; enjoy fresh fruit instead of drinking juice; and add barley, beans, peas or lentils to casseroles and soups.
Fibre-rich foods are often lower in calories than foods that have little or no fibre, says Brown, making them a great choice for anyone who’s trying to lose weight (or avoid gaining). Take advantage of this fact when dining at a restaurant’choose whole-grain breads, wraps, pizza crusts and pasta, when possible, or order a fibre-rich salad.
Your body can’t digest fibre. Although it’s a carbohydrate, it will pass through your digestive system without adding any calories.
Fibre is associated with lowering blood cholesterol and decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer. Start enjoying the benefits by giving your breakfast a healthy boost of fibre: add a spoonful of wheat bran or ground flax seed to your cereal or yogurt.
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