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Fiber Benefits: All This and Weight Loss Too!

Aug 6, 2008
Various fiber benefits are such hot topics today that it's difficult to imagine that just thirty years ago, the medical community completely ignored fiber as an important part of a healthy diet. Found only in plant products, fiber is indigestible and passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged.

Fiber falls under the carbohydrate heading but is further classified as soluble and insoluble. Easily dissolved in water, soluble fiber is found in foods such as apples, beans, oats, and carrots. Soluble fiber can lower blood sugar levels as well as blood cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in liquid. It is considered to be an effective laxative and is generally found in vegetables, nuts, whole-wheat flours, and wheat bran.

Most Americans only get about half the recommended amount of fiber in their diets. A good diet would consists of 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Men need more than women, and younger women need slightly more than older women.

Can you believe that Americans only eat about 10% of the fiber that was eaten 100 years ago? There are many reasons for this but the most significant one deals with the changes made in the processing of wheat over the last century.

The best sources of fiber are whole grain breads, fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Wheat bran is actually the single best source, and is found in many natural cereals. Metamucil and Citrucel are examples of fiber supplements that can be easily found in drugstores and grocery stores. These products offer a restricted type of fiber and some fiber benefits, but don't provide all the benefits of fiber eaten naturally.

Take advantage of the many fiber benefits but don't move from a low-fiber diet to a high-fiber diet overnight! It's important to drink plenty of water when adding fiber to your diet. Cramping, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems can result from adding too much fiber too quickly.

The fiber benefits are plentiful! For one thing, fiber requires you to chew, thus slowing down the eating process. Fiber provides a sense of fullness and makes food more satisfying. Fiber slows down digestion and absorption and enables glucose (sugar) to enter the bloodstream more slowly, causing fewer spikes in blood sugar. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol levels and produces organic acids that provide fuel for the liver. Probably best known for preventing constipation, fiber also offers the benefit of aiding in weight loss.

Weight loss is one of the most exciting benefits of a high fiber diet. Foods providing plenty of this nutrient are more satisfying and provide a sense of fullness. The texture of high fiber foods is appealing to the dieter and the foods tend to be lower in calories than some other choices that could be made.

Who wouldn't want to experience these amazing fiber benefits? When you plan your next meal, add plenty of high fiber foods and experience the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you made a healthy choice!
About the Author
Gail M. Davis provides additional information on fiber benefits along with simple suggestions for getting additional fiber in your diet. You can enjoy high-fiber, healthy recipes and much additional on her weight loss advice site, Easy Weight Loss Tips.
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