When people think about dieting, they think about subtraction. “I can’t eat that,” “I have to reduce my calories,” or “I have to have less of this,” are all common phrases uttered by dieters.
But dropping a few pounds might not require removing anything at all. In fact, to start shedding pounds quickly it may mean adding something you’re not getting enough of.
How much fiber do you eat per day? If you’re not getting at least 25 to 30 grams, you’re likely not maximizing your ability to eliminate inches from your waist. Research has shown that people who add fiber to their existing diet (1)—without making any other changes—are able to lose fat at almost the same pace as those who make major changes.
More Fiber Means You’re Less Likely to Get Hungry
How is this possible? There a couple of reasons. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate with a number of health benefits, slows digestion and absorption so you feel fuller for longer. More fiber means you’re less likely to get hungry and snack on junk food that adds on pounds quickly and carelessly. In fact, it’s even arguable as to whether or not the calories you consume from fiber even count towards daily intake, because fiber itself is not absorbed—it removes itself, and other waste, from your body.
So if you eat a cup of blueberries that’s listed as 70 calories with 17 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber, it may only be 54 calories with 13 grams of carbs (each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories).
Fiber is largely found in the skin of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. Because it’s in fruit, sweet treats such as berries, apples, pears, and more all help satisfy cravings and work to keep you much fuller than, say, a candy bar. But remember, you have to eat the skin in its whole form; fruits consumed in a smoothie, for example, can be devoid of fiber.
Although a holistic approach to nutrition is recommended to shrink the numbers on the scale, fiber alone could get the ball rolling. It helps you to eat less and feel full, and it provides all kinds of beneficial nutrition.