Fiber is a very important part of everyone’s eating plan. However, what is fiber and why is it beneficial? Fiber is one of 3 separate types of carbohydrates. The other two are sugar and starch. Fiber is derived from various types of plants, it consists of zero calories, and passes through the entire digestive tract, unabsorbed in the blood stream. This is the reason that fiber has so many health benefits. The addition of fiber to your diet is crucial to attaining quick weight loss.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, each has a different action in your digestive tract.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and it’s rough, hence the name “roughage” is sometimes applied to insoluble fiber. It goes straight through your system and helps with problems such as constipation by increasing the bulk of your stools. Insoluble fiber is calorie free.
Soluble fiber does dissolve in water and turns into a jelly-like mass. This is great for diabetics as it slows down sugar absorption in the blood, helping to prevent spikes in blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber contains four calories per gram, similar to other types of carbohydrates.
One of the ways fiber helps you lose weight is by causing you to have to chew more and slowing down the absorption of nutrients. Eating more slowly gives you more time to realize you are satiated, and hence you will eat less.
So where can you find fiber besides in oatmeal? The best sources for soluble fiber are beans, fruits, barley, and oats. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat brain, raw vegetables, like carrots and celery, and nuts. It’s sometimes disguised in foods like yogurt, like the Activia series by Dannon, which also adds probiotics to your digestive tract, which can help with digestion.
There are some conflicting arguments regarding the amount of fiber you should include in your diet every day. Some experts say that it is impossible to eat too much fiber, however, if you are a diabetic, too many soluble carbohydrates may not be good.
There are dietary fiber supplements, but some of them won’t have the same cholesterol lowering effects as dietary fiber sources.
As a general rule, it is beneficial to eat a large amount of fiber due to the many chronic diseases it helps prevent. Remember, if you eat a lot of carbohydrates, you should include more fiber because it helps control the spiking of your blood sugar. Fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, is critical to achieving rapid weight loss.
Just remember to eat a varied diet, and include a lot of basic unprocessed food in your eating plan and you should get adequate amounts of fiber in your diet.
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