From the Bedside: The Skinny on Fiber.
At Rx Health and Wellness Weight Loss Clinic located in Owasso, Oklahoma, we strive to provide practical information to aid you on your weight loss journey. We gladly share our knowledge in a series of posts titled “From the Bedside”. In this article, Jayme Taylor, APRN, one of our providers at Rx Health and Wellness Weight Loss clinic, discusses fiber and how it can help you work towards your weight loss goals.
By Jayme Taylor, APRN, CSOWM
In this discussion we are going to build on the information that has already been provided by Dr. Hancock in his Probiotics discussion and talk about fiber for a second. Now I can feel many of you rolling your eyes, I mean is there a more boring topic than fiber? Probably not, but it is a must have discussion. As health care providers we spend a considerable amount of time discussing gut health and its importance to overall health. Fiber (like probiotics) is a very important component of gut health. So, we are going to discuss the importance of fiber and how you can increase this in your diet.
First, what is fiber? Fiber is the nondigestable portion of foods such as fruits and vegetables. Unlike the other nutrients that we will discuss later, fiber is not absorbed by the body, but just passes through. You may be thinking, “well what’s the point then?” The point is that fiber has all kinds of really great benefits to the body. Other than normalizing bowel movements, it also helps prevent diseases of the bowel and colon. Some other great benefits are that it helps to regulate blood sugar and normalize cholesterol. Increases your life expectancy by decreasing cardiovascular risk AND it helps you lose weight. What? That’s right, it can help you in weight loss.
Fiber is actually pretty important to weight loss. This is for a variety of reasons, such as those discussed with gut health. However, foods that are high in fiber are more filling so they tend to discourage overreacting. Also, because they help to regulate blood sugar there is less need for snacking. Finally, high fiber foods tend to be less calorically dense foods. What that means is unlike nuts for instance (which have a lot of calories for a very small amount) most high fiber foods tend to be low calorie which means you can eat a lot of it and still fall well below your calorie goals for the day! So, yeah… fiber is pretty important.
Where do you find it? Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, it is also found in nuts. Now remember the nuts and seeds tend to have more calories, so while they have good fiber they also can easily result in weight gain if you don’t watch your portions. You can also supplement fiber by using things like Benefiber and Metamucil. Although, I encourage you to try to get these from your whole foods if you can.
So, as you can see, fiber is a great way to improve health overall. For those of you wanting to shed a few pounds, high fiber foods are a good place to start.