How Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight
Want to make your weight loss regime a lot less strenuous? Eating high-fiber foods just may be the key to shedding pounds fast and efficiently.
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Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and hearty beans are not only low in fat and calories, but they also cause a drop in appetite that’ll keep you from grabbing those naughty in-between snacks.
Fiber Helps Weight Loss
Studies show that most people eat about the same weight of food each day. If you choose high-fiber, water-rich foods — such as broth-based vegetable soups, salads, fruits, and vegetables — instead of foods without fiber and water, you can eat the same weight of food but feel full on fewer calories.
Beyond the fiber content, crunching and chewing dietary fiber stimulates your senses and takes longer to eat. So psychologically, it may also be more satisfying than beverages or soft foods. Chewing also promotes saliva and the production of stomach juices that help fill the stomach.
Fiber at Breakfast Is a Healthy Weight Loss Habit
In its tracking of the eating habits of successful dieters — those big losers who have kept weight off for years — the National Weight Control Registry has found that most eat breakfast regularly. And cereal is one of their morning rituals.
In general, eating cereal — especially high-fiber cereals — is beneficial for weight loss. Studies that look at what people eat show those who eat more carbs, more fiber, and cereal in general weigh less than those who eat less fiber, carbs, and cereal.
Add Fiber Calories Wisely and Slowly
Slowly adding more fiber to your diet can avoid bloating and gas by giving your body time to adapt. It is also important to drink plenty of liquids while increasing fiber.
Try these tips for adding more low-calorie foods to your meal plan to boost fiber while keeping calories in check:
- Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juice.
- Snack on veggies.
- Make vegetables a main course.
- Add a filling vegetable salad instead of a starchy salad as a side dish with meals.
- Enjoy a bowl of vegetable-based broth soup before meals.
- Start the day with a high-fiber cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy.
- Eat more beans.
- Make all your grains whole and limit them to a few servings each day.
- Add nuts and seeds to your weight loss plan, but keep the portions small because they are high in fiber and calories.
Experts are quick to point out that fiber alone won’t peel off the pounds. You still need to eat a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and get regular physical activity. But controlling or maintaining your weight is easier with a diet rich in fiber.
Surprisingly Healthy Barbecue Food
So…what is the healthiest barbecue food?
‘Tis the season of summer barbecue classics: burgers, hot dogs, potato salad. And don’t forget the pie, cakes, cookies…and ice cream!
While traditional warmer-weather meals tend to not always be the healthiest for you, you can still dig in without gaining weight.
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What’s the best way to attend a barbecue and actually eat? It’s about making the right satisfying choices, while skipping (or drastically reducing your portion size of) the worst ones.
Bad appetizer: Potato chips with French onion dip. A large handful of chips delivers about 150 calories and 10 grams of fat. Add to that 60 calories and 4.5 grams of fat from 2 tablespoons of dip. Tortilla chips and guacamole deliver about the same calories (about 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, plus 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat in the guac). The problem with these snacks isn’t so much how many calories one serving is…it’s about how hard it is to stop after just one serving!
Best appetizer: Veggies with hummus. You can have a full cup of sugar snap peas for 60 calories (0 grams of fat). Add 2 tablespoons of hummus (50 calories, 3 grams of fat) and you have a nice fiber-rich, very filling snack for just a little more than 100 calories.
Bad main dish: A double-cheeseburger. A couple quarter-pound beef burgers with slices of cheese will set you back over 1,000 calories (and over 50 grams of fat). Skipping the cheese will save you about 100 calories. But if you love a good burger, just go for a single patty. It’s still an excellent source of iron.
Best main dish: A hot dog or turkey burger. Either of these options is lower in calories than you might think. Enjoy one on a roll or bun with your favorite toppings (with lower-cal toppings like mustard and relish) and you’ll come out around 300 calories, 17 g fat.
Bad side dish: Potato salad. There’s nothing inherently bad about potatoes: they’re actually a great source of vitamin C and fiber, but they contain more calories than other veggies. Plus, most potato salads are smothered in way too much full-fat mayo and will cost you about 360 calories and 20 or so grams of fat per cup.
Best side dish: Coleslaw can satisfy a craving for something creamy for far fewer calories (83, with 3 grams of fat per cup). Low-cal cabbage is also a rich source of isothiocyanates, compounds that amp up the body’s natural detoxifying enzymes. Another great option is reduced-fat potato salad.
Bad (alcoholic) drink: Regular margarita. Between the alcohol and mixers, a small 3.5-ounce drink packs about 160 calories (0 grams of fat). Fortunately, there are some reduced-calorie mixers that are better options.
Bad (non-alcoholic) drink: Soda. A 12-ounce can delivers about 150 calories thanks to added sugars. In addition, study after study shows that soda’s other ingredients may increase your risks for certain illness, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Best (alcoholic) drink: Light beer or wine. A 12-ounce serving generally can have as little as 100 calories.
Best (non-alcoholic) drink: Seltzer water. A zero-calorie flavored seltzer with a slice of fruit in it is the best choice of all.
Bad dessert: Strawberry shortcake. Just because it contains fruit doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest or lowest-calorie choice. Between the cake and the loads of whipped cream that typically tops this summer favorite, you get a lot more calories than you may be bargaining for: about 425 (and around 20-25 grams of fat).
Best dessert: A frozen fruit bar (100 calories, 0 grams of fat). Or, you can also opt for a reduced-fat ice cream bar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream: 140 calories, about 5 grams of fat.