22 April 2009

'Fiber Up' Your Weight Management Plan

High-fiber foods serve as an aid to improved weight management. They absorb water like a sponge creating a feeling of being full and satisfied during a meal. A fiber rich meal which is filling can keep you satisfied longer so you're less likely to overeat. High fiber foods like whole grains and whole fruits (with skin on) slow down the digestion and absorption of the meal it is contained in, meaning that you don’t feel hungry again so quickly. And fiber-rich foods are usually less energy-dense meaning you can feel full on fewer calories. In the case of weight management, all of these attributes really work in your favor.

However, increasing fiber consumption should be a gradual process as a sudden heightened amount could produce cramping and bloating. In addition if you do not consume sufficient water, constipation may set in. So make sure to drink lots of water to accommodate the increased fiber. Remember that fiber is a water grabbing element.

About 20-25 grams of fiber is required per day. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables is an easy way to up the fiber in your diet. Dried fruits are a wonderful option as well and they keep well for much longer. Beans which are readily available and easy to add to an existing meal are also an excellent source. A fiber loaded cereal can be easily added to yogurts or to other low-fiber cereals to improve their fiber content. Look for cereals with at least 4 or more grams of fiber per serving. Oatmeal is a hot cereal which is already well known for it high fiber content.

Fiber supplements are ok although I prefer getting nutrition from the food you eat. But I also understand that personal circumstances may not always permit this. The main issue with the supplement is that it is easy to overdo it and increase fiber intake to an amount that does not allow your body sufficient time to adjust. As discussed earlier, that can lead to cramping, and also constipation if fluid intake does not accommodate the increase fiber.

Two Final Points:
-Replace a poor source of fiber with a better source e.g regular white bread with a whole grain variety
-Don’t try to get your 20-25 grams/day all in one meal when you are used to a much smaller intake. Spread it throughout your meals over the course of the day.

So add some fiber to your daily meals to improve weight management and for overall improved nutrition.

1 comments:

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