When I started this (my last) weight loss journey in September 2019, I did a lot of self-reflection and I thought a lot about what worked and didn’t work for me on my previous diets. One of the things that I realized was that when it comes to the food part of my lifestyle change I had to feel full. I cannot stay on a diet for more than a few weeks if I was hungry or felt deprived. And thankfully I found one of the solutions to this problem -fiber. Today I want to talk about the importance of foods rich in fiber for weight loss.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School compared people who were asked to eat at least 30 grams of fiber to those who were advised to eat more fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, fish, and lean protein but also cut back on salt, sugar, fat, and alcohol. The fiber group lost 4.6 pounds and the other group lost 5.9 pounds! What a boost fiber can give your weight loss.
There are many studies that found fiber to be inversely correlated to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It may be that we have the magic pill to obesity sitting right there on the grocery shelf and it could be in your pantry today!
Fiber is beneficial to your weight loss in two crucial ways. First, high fiber foods help with satiety or feeling full after a meal. Secondly, fiber controls blood sugar levels and therefore reduces your cravings for unhealthy food.
Also read The Top 5 Foods for Permanent Weight Loss.
Also read The Worst Foods for Weight Loss.
If I had to pick one reason why my previous diets failed was that I was hungry soon after eating. You know that feeling where you ate a piece of grilled chicken the size of the palm of your hand with a salad with balsamic vinegar.
You feel good that you were able to eat a healthy dinner. However, an hour or so later you are hungry. But you are strong and resist the temptation to eat. However, this is only sustainable for no more than a few weeks. And eventually, you eat a Big Mac and you’re off your diet.
However, fiber takes longer to digest, you will feel full and not have the urge to eat for a few hours. Basically, fiber-rich diets contribute to weight loss by causing a person to feel full. And furthermore, you will feel full on fewer calories. This is definitely why I think fiber-rich foods are perfect for weight loss and should be included in every meal and snack.
Blood Sugar Levels
You may know that certain foods like white bread and sugary drinks cause a rise and fall in your blood sugar levels. The fall in your blood sugar levels then leaves you hungry and craving for more food. Conversely, eating fiber doesn’t cause this harmful spike and dip in your blood sugar levels. And once again, you are not looking for more food. Obviously, if you are not hungry, you eat less – a key to weight loss.
How Much Fiber Do You Need
It is recommended that women eat 25 grams of fiber a day and that men should aim for 38 grams a day.
If you are like me, these numbers mean very little to you. So let’s look at an example to help you out, a medium apple with skin contains 4.5 grams of fiber. So if you are a woman you need to eat the rough equivalent of 5.5 apples a day and for men, the equivalent is about 8.5 apples.
This may seem like a lot, but remember this is the recommendation for a day. Which means three meals and two snacks. When I started to eat more fiber I made a list of fiber-rich foods for weight loss which I am happy to share with you. But first a word of caution about adding more fiber to your diet.
Adding More Fiber to Your Diet
You need to add more fiber to your diet very slowly. It is very difficult for your digestive system to go from the typical American diet to suddenly trying to digest 25 or 38 grams. Your body may rebel from your new high fiber diet and you may experience gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. So go slow and listen to your body.
In my case, I initially started eating more fruits and vegetables and then added more beans and legumes.
List of Fiber-Rich Foods for Weight Loss
This is the list that I made of fiber-rich foods for myself. You can copy and paste this list and take it with you on your next grocery shopping trip.
Also, keep a food diary and track not only the food you eat but the calories and the grams of fiber in each food.
High Fiber Fruit for Weight Loss
If you want to increase your fiber, one of the easiest places to start is with eating more fruit. Most of the fruit on this list are sweet and delicious and therefore will you will not find it too difficult to add to your diet. Fruit is perfect with breakfast, as a snack during the day and of course for dessert, The list includes the most common and readily available fiber-rich fruit.
|Fruit||Serving Size||Grams of Fiber|
High Fiber Vegetables for Weight Loss
Your mom was right when you forced you to eat vegetables. Start with vegetables that you are more familiar to you, like carrots, and slowly expand your horizon. We usually think of vegetables with lunch and dinner. But don’t forget you can have vegetables with breakfast. For example vegetables with your eggs. I also like avocado toast for breakfast. And of course, vegetables make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack
|Vegetable||Serving Size||Grams of Fiber|
|Acorn squash||1 cup||9|
|Green peas||1 cup||9|
|Butternut squash||1 cup||7|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||4|
|Green beans||1 cup||4|
|Green bell peppers||1 cup||2|
High Fiber Legumes for Weight Loss
When you are ready to jump into the deep end of your fiber-rich diet, you will love that you get the most bang for your buck with legumes. A can of beans with a little olive oil, onions, and garlic and you have an amazing side dish or bowl for lunch. You can also add legumes to your salads to make them more filling and increase the amount of fiber.
|Legume||Serving Size||Grams of Fiber|
|Navy beans||1 cup||19|
|White beans||1 cup||19|
|Split peas||1 cup||16|
|Pinto beans||1 cup||15|
|Black beans||1 cup||15|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||11|
|Blackeye peas||1 cup||11|
|Fava beans||1 cup||9|
|Lima beans||1 cup||9|
High Fiber Grains for Weight Loss
Switch your refined grains for these whole grains to add a few more grams of fiber to your diet. Refined grains like white bread and white rice are the worst offenders of the spike and fall of your blood sugar levels.
|Grain||Serving Size||Grams of Fiber|
|Whole wheat pasta||1 cup||6|
|Brown rice||1 cup||3.5|
|Whole grain bread||1 slice||2|
High Fiber Nuts and Seeds for Weight Loss
Nuts and seeds are excellent fiber-rich snacks for weight loss. However, watch your portion size, because they tend to be high in calories. Nuts and seeds not only make great high fiber snacks and they are also excellent in salads and cereals.
|Nut/Seed||Serving Size||Grams of Fiber|
|Chia seeds||1 ounce||10|
|Flax seeds||1 ounce||8|
|Squash and pumpkin seeds||1 ounce||5|
|Sesame seeds||1 ounce||4|
|Pine nuts||1 ounce||3|
|Macadamia nuts||1 ounce||2|
|Sunflower seeds||1 ounce||2|
|Brazil nuts||1 ounce||2|
Foods Rich in Fiber for Weight Loss
I like to think of fiber as my secret weapon. I honestly think that eating more fiber has made it possible for me to stick with my lifestyle change because I’m simply not hungry. And eating more fiber-rich foods should get most of the credit for my 80-pound (and counting) weight loss.
If you want to want to lose weight and keep it off, your best bet is to forget fad diets. You need a diet that you can do for the rest of your life. Find healthy foods that you can enjoy and feel full. And on the top of your list should be foods high in fiber.
Your turn. What are your thoughts on fiber and weight loss?