A Very Sensitive SubjectLet’s be clear: Carrying too much weight is not healthy. The primary driver of type II diabetes, and a leading contributor to heart disease, stroke, and some kinds of cancer, obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable diseases, along with smoking. There’s no getting around the fact that too much weight—especially visceral fat, which builds up around organs and interferes with their functions—is dangerous. And America is continuing to get larger over time. Over two thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or heavier. One third is obese. Yet there is a very simple solution to all of this. An easy way to make sure that you’re eating a healthy amount, whether you need to lose or simply maintain your weight. It’s something your body needs to properly function, anyway. I’m talking about fiber.
Fiber: Nature’s Perfect Weight ControlFiber, as you probably know, is just the name we give to complex carbohydrates that the body doesn’t digest. You might think that the indigestible parts of food wouldn’t be that important. But you’d be wrong. Fiber, it turns out, might be the most important foods you eat every day. To start, while you may not digest fiber, the bacteria that live in your gut microbiome love the stuff. That’s why fiber is such an important supplement if you are having digestive problems. Fiber feeds all the good bacteria in your gut, increasing the efficiency of your digestion. But that’s just the start. Most important for this discussion, fiber fills you up, helping you feel fuller, faster. Consequently, eating more fiber will help you to consume fewer calories. Because fiber itself doesn’t have calories and doesn’t get digested, it won’t add inches to your waist. There’s a reason that every nutritionist will tell you to eat as many green vegetables as you like—they are high in fiber, and you’ll feel full well before you eat too much. However, at the same time, fiber is an essential part of just about every healthy fruit and vegetable out there, which typically come with a whole host of important nutrients. In fact, fiber even helps you to process those nutrients in a more efficient way. That’s why the sugar in fruit—even fruits high in sugar—isn’t considered bad for you (unless you’re already diabetic or pre-diabetic). Your body needs sugar to function properly, and fibrous sugar enters your bloodstream at a nice, steady pace. Your blood sugar never spikes or crashes. Instead, you get just the right amount of sugar, at just the right speed. Your body was designed to use the sugar in a whole apple—turn it into juice without any fiber, you get the dangerous insulin spikes that accompany too much sugar dumped into your blood at once. What’s more, fiber acts like a broom for your gut. It sweeps away any gunk or toxins that may be lingering along the lining of your digestive tract, making
- Baer, David, et al. Dietary Fiber Decreases The Metabolizable Energy Content and Nutrient Digestibility of Mixed Diets Fed To Humans. The Journal of Nutrition. Published Apr 1, 1997 127:4:579-586. Accessed Apr 7, 2017.
- Hyman, Mark. The Super Fiber That Controls Your Appetite and Blood Sugar. The Huffington Post. Published May 29, 2010. Accessed Apr 7, 2017.
- Staff. Overweight and Obesity Statistics. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Published Oct 2012. Accessed Apr 7, 2017.