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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fiber for Life

Fruits and vegetables will make you thin. But how?
If you’re hoping to accelerate your rate at which you burn off that fat, if you simply want to have better health and overall physical function on a daily basis, fiber is going to be your best friend. 
Far too many people get caught up in calorie counting and making sure that they have the “perfect” numerical intake that they completely overlook the role that dietary fiber plays. Since fiber can definitely help to push your results in the right direction, it’s something that you should be thinking about, no...taking. 

What are some of the real benefits of dietary fiber? How can you get more fiber in your daily diet plan?

Blood Glucose Control 

The secret to fat loss (I prefer the term “fat loss” to “weight loss)” is
fiber; it’s that simple.  One of it’s biggest selling points is taking fiber provides great blood glucose control. If you’re eating carbohydrate rich foods that are very low in dietary fiber, (like cookies, candy, soft drinks, most types of bread, etc.) These will break down rapidly in the blood stream, causing your blood glucose levels to rise and then plummet just as quickly.

This blood glucose fluctuation makes it far more challenging to stick to a healthy diet and can send your fat loss efforts right off the window.  With this blood glucose “crash,” you can expect to experience such strong hunger pains that you virtually cannot ignore them, temptation will be too hard to fight and you will give in, taking in more calories than you had intended. 

Appetite Suppression 

Another great thing about dietary fiber, especially as it relates to blood glucose control, is it will act as an appetite suppressant. When blood glucose levels are stabilized (due to eating foods that are high in fiber along with lean proteins and healthy fats), you will find that your hunger cravings are almost non-existent. This is what we in the nutrition industry have started labeling “hormonal eating,” because insulin, your blood glucose regulator, is one of several hormones at play that control signaling to the brain feelings of hunger, or fullness.  Fiber helps create that sense of satiety or, fullness.

With hunger under control, success is within reach. 

If you find that hunger is one of the biggest issues you face on your diet plan, adding more dietary fiber into the mix is one of the fastest ways to reduce hunger’s presence. 

Increased Heart Health 

The next big benefit that adding more fiber to your day is a boost to your heart health. Those who maintain higher fiber diets will have lower overall cholesterol levels which means, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. 

Dietary fiber helps to defend against excess plaque build-up that can lead to hardening of the arteries, progressing eventually to heart disease.

With blood glucose more controlled and with a high fiber diet, there won’t be the high triglyceride levels that you typically hear about in diets rich in refined carbohydrates.  Diets rich in refined carbohydrates can be just as bad, if not worse than diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol as far as your heart-health is concerned. 

Lower Risk of Diabetes 

Another disease that a higher fiber diet will help protect against is diabetes. Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels in today’s society, so not something that you can afford to take lightly.

If you’re eating a diet that’s lacking in dietary fiber and that is rich in processed carbohydrates, this means that you will be getting a high dose of insulin dumped into your system each and every time you eat all those processed carbs.

Over time, this can then burden the pancreas while also causing your cells to become less sensitive to insulin, this is known as insulin sensitivity (or really, lack of.) 

When this happens, you’re welcoming diabetes into the picture and I don’t have to remind anyone of how serious that disease is.  It can be managed, yes, but you will be regulating everything you eat for the rest of your life.

So it is critical to look at your dietary fiber intake and make absolutely sure that you are getting enough. 

Now that you’re getting enough dietary fiber in your diet plan, let’s have a closer look at some of the best sources.

The Best Sources of Dietary Fiber 

When it comes to dietary fiber, there are two main types: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. 

Getting a mix of both types is your best bet for optimal results and to help ensure you have a weapon against hunger.

Soluble fiber, which is digested and broken down, is found in wholesome grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, barley, couscous, and beans and lentils.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is the fiber that’s found in fresh fruits and vegetables, which adds bulk and ‘roughage’ to the diet and doesn’t really break down. This variety of fiber will pass right through the body, but will slow the digestion process down considerably and help to remove unwanted cholesterol from the body as well. It literally pulls fats into its fiber matrix and draws them out. Insoluble fiber is what helps keep your bowel movements regular, so it should be taken as well. 

Important reasons to get sufficient volumes of dietary fiber every day, don’t you think?

Regardless of whether your goal is fat loss or improved overall health, increasing your fiber intake is one of the top ways to improve your health. 

Remember to increase your intake of fiber slowly, adding around 5 grams to your diet every few days so that way you allow your body a chance to adjust and adapt to the increased intake and don’t experience gastrointestinal distress. If you add too much fiber too quickly, you’ll could end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable.  Go slowly until you reach your target fiber intake, which should be around 20 grams per 1000 calories consumed.  

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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