Every time I hear news that sounds like this, I get annoyed: “A new study by so-and-so found that eating such-and-such-impossible-to-eat-food and cutting down on such-and-such-food-we-happen-to-love, improves weight loss by such-and-such percentage.”
Are you with me?
I know what they’re going to say: “don’t eat potatoes“ or “count calories,” or some other restrictive advice we have to follow in order to get, or stay, thin. The truth is, many of us don’t want to calculate how much broccoli we eat in a day. We just want to enjoy our food and not obsess about how bad food supposedly is.
A recent study from the University of Massachusetts shows that an easier-to-follow, more-permissive diet based on fiber, and relying on a wider variety of food sources, yields better results than a restrictive and complex diet when it comes to weight loss.
In other words, the key to dieting is simpler than you think. That’s the kind of diet news I like. The researchers discovered what many people around the world have known for millennia: Eating more fiber, while enjoying good food, helps people lose more weight.
You see, most of us fall short. We need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health, but only consume about 15. Fiber is what helps make us feel full (and not overeat). It regulates the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. It reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, constipation, and importantly enough, promotes weight loss.
Choosing fiber comes down to choosing “intelligent” calories over of “empty” ones.
What Fiber Looks Like
Fiber is the element in plants that our bodies do not digest. It mostly stays intact as it travels through your body.
In the kitchen, it looks like this:
- All leafy green vegetables, legumes, and beans.
- The brown stuff in whole-grain bread, flour, pasta, rice, and other grains.
- The skin of citrus segments.
- The peel of fruits and vegetables.
- The outer skin of most nuts.
Getting Enough Fiber is Your Key to Fat Loss
Hitting the targeted 30 grams of fiber each day is actually very simple. Here’s a daily menu that will easily get you there:
Breakfast: One serving of whole-grain cereal (5 grams of fiber) and milk with half a banana (1.4 grams of fiber).
Morning snack: Two-dozen walnuts (3.5 grams of fiber) and a quarter cup of raisins (1.6 grams of fiber).
Lunch: A sandwich made with two slices of whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, and red onion (5.5 grams of fiber total), and two tangerines (3.2 grams of fiber).
Afternoon snack: A yogurt topped with half a cup of berries (2.2 grams of fiber).
Dinner: Salmon and a mixed-green salad with carrots and radishes (2.6 grams of fiber), half a cup of cooked kale (2.2 grams of fiber), and half a cup of black beans (7.4 grams of fiber).
My Chef Secrets for Packing Fiber into Any Recipe
Consuming fiber is a huge factor in supporting your fat-torching efforts. It makes all the difference, but you don’t have to count grams. Just Eat More fiber to Burn More.
Here is how I pack fiber into my recipes:
- Add whole fruits (skin on; fruit juices don’t count!) to recipes. Especially apples, berries, pears, oranges, and dried fruits like prunes or Turkish apricots.
- Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole-grain products.
- Don’t peel “soft-skin” vegetables like carrot, potatoes, turnip, parsnip, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant. The skin contains the most fiber.
- Add cooked beans and lentils to soups, stews, salads, and salsas — or eat them by themselves.
- Sprinkle salads and casseroles with flax, hemp, sunflower seeds, or nuts.
- Increase your consumption of leafy green vegetables (or any green vegetables for that matter). I actually throw kale, spinach, or chard into chilis, soups, casseroles, stews, pastas, rice and more.
- When baking, try replacing 1 cup of white flour with ½ cup of whole-grain flour, ¼ cup of coconut flour, and ¼ cup of almond flour.
- Make your own food! Processed foods are the anti-fiber warriors.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Full-Fiber Recipes on EarlytoRise.com in the coming days — including a high-fiber guacamole recipe in time for Football Sunday — so make sure to check back soon!