Fiber: Critically Important for Long-Term Weight Management
By Jodie Parus, RD, LD
The calorie in calorie out philosophy for weight loss and weight maintenance may be neglecting to address critical considerations that could lead to much greater success rates. Rigorous, highly restrictive diet plans tend to provide little value and result in poor long-term benefits. Significantly increasing fiber intake may play an essential role in long-term weight management.
Soluble fiber's physical properties of volume, viscosity, and water holding capacity lead to physiological effects including glucoregulation, appetite, and satiety. Fiber is poorly digested, therefore when you consume soluble fiber; it provides beneficial effects for weight management while contributing very little caloric value.
Soluble fibers attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion and delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and may help lower LDL blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Sources of soluble fiber include oats, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.
The average fiber intake for an adult in the US is 15 grams, with many only consuming 5 to 10 grams per day. Most adults would benefit from increasing daily fiber intake to at least 25 grams and those with weight management goals would benefit greatly from a consumption of 35 to 50 grams.
Many clinicians are increasingly assisting patients establish long term goals to avoid further weight gain by incorporating strategies to achieve and maintain a sense of satiety with reduced caloric intake. More advantageous outcomes in weight loss and weight management after successful weight loss may be achieved by considerably increasing fiber intake
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