Curb Cravings With Fiber In Your Diet

Almost everyone knows that fiber in the diet is important, but few know exactly what it is or what it does. Fiber helps keep you fuller longer and helps reduce cravings for unhealthy food. Fiber will keep you regular and can guard against cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

There are two main types of fiber found in foods: insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains and on the outside of seeds, fruits, legumes, and other foods. It is also called roughage. Its job is to hold onto water in your digestive system. It uses this water to move waste through your intestine and get rid of all of the toxins and material that your body doesn't need. Insoluble fiber acts like a sponge. It absorbs water and then swells up inside of your intestine, producing a "full feeling."

Soluble Fiber

The other type of fiber is soluble fiber. It is found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, brown rice, bar ley, oats, and oat bran. It works by passing through the intestine and forming a "gel" like substance. Fiber and digestive enzymes made by the liver form this gel. Soluble fiber works on a chemical level to prevent and reduce the absorption of certain substances that are harmful to the body.

Getting the Benefits of Fiber

Getting the benefits of fiber is as simple as switching from a diet high in processed foods to a whole foods diet. Your diet should emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, nuts and seeds. The best way to increase your fiber is through foods, and not fiber supplements since most fiber supplements are just purified cellulose. Eating whole foods provides you with fiber and other important nutrients and minerals.

Control Weight and Reduce Cravings with Fiber

Getting enough fiber each day will help you control your weight. When you eat fiber-rich foods, you'll feel fuller for longer periods of ti me. You won't experience drops in your blood sugar, which make it easy to succumb to food cravings. When you emphasize fiber in your diet, you'll also be eating more nutritious foods.

Foods High in Fiber

White bread, pasta and processed foods are very low in fiber. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables provide fiber along with a lot of other important nutrients. These foods are lower in calories, fat and preservatives. When you eat whole, fiber-rich foods you'll lose weight, have more energy and feel more satisfied after meals.

Fiber Supplements

If fiber is a big concern for you, you can also try fiber supplements. Although it is preferable to seek fiber in whole food form, supplements can help you stay regular and keep your digestive system active. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are no long-term harmful effects from taking daily fiber supplements. If you're struggling with a digestive disorder like irritable bowel syndr ome, then this might be an option in addition to changing your diet.

Introduce Fiber Slowly to your Daily Diet

The daily recommended allowance for fiber is between 25 to 35 grams for adults. It is estimated that most people get 15 grams or fewer. If you're just beginning to introduce more fiber into your diet, it's best to step up your intake gradually. Moving from 15 grams to 35 grams immediately may cause gas and bloating. Increasing your fiber level gradually over two weeks is the best approach.