Fiber in a Nutshell?

There are numerous diets out there that guarantee that they are the ones that will work. We all know who and what they are. There is the no carb, low carb, carb and low fat, grapefruit, and soup diets, to name a few. While I believe that each of these diets can work for certain individuals in the short term, research shows that crash diets don't work. Over the long term, these diets are not sustainable. After returning to normal eating patterns the average person not only gains the weight back but often put on a few pounds more than their original weight.

I would like to suggest an alternative. Make fiber your friend. Research has shown that a daily diet high in fiber can help stabilize blood sugar, lower cancer risk and control the appetite. How does this work?

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel which coats our intestines. Insoluble fiber speeds up the passage of material through the digestive tract. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts will provide us with both types of fiber. The suggested amount of fiber for the average person is 25-30 grams. Most of us, in the United States, consumes less than one half of the suggested amount.

Some easy ways to introduce more fiber in our diets is to try to attain a goal of 90% fresh food to 10% processed. Start out slowly according to what your lifestyle requires. If you now subsist on a diet of wholly processed foods, try 50-50. Fiber has no nutrients. Therefore, high fiber foods which are low in fat are surprisingly low in calories. One of the best and most delicious sources of fiber are berries. Whole foods are better than juices. Try an orange instead of a glass of orange juice. A pear has more fiber than an apple. One ounce of nuts makes a good pick-me-up in the afternoon and has 2 grams of fiber.

A word of warning: Introduce fiber slowly to your diet over a period of two to three weeks to avoid cramping and gas. In addition to making these changes drink plenty of water. This help to create the bulk which, in turn, enhances the positive aspects of a diet rich in fiber.

Constance Weygandt is a balance mentor who specializes in finding answers for those individuals who are seeking an alternative to conventional weight management. For more information or to sign up for Constance's newsletter, visit her website at http://www.balancedwellnessonline.com

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