When it comes to losing or controlling weight, one simple piece of advice may be more helpful rather than calorie counting, diet books, and portion measuring, it’s to eat more fiber. Recent studies found that people who added more fiber to their diet lost almost as much weight as people who followed the low-fat eating plan recommended by their concerned dieticians.  

Fiber (roughage) is the part of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and beans) that the body can’t break down. Hence, it passes through the body undigested, keeping your digestive system healthy, clean, and eliminates cholesterol or harmful carcinogens.

There are two types of fiber: 

1) Soluble: This fiber is found in beans, oats, and other legumes, and some fruits or vegetables. Soluble fibers basically act in lowering cholesterol levels.

2) Insoluble. This type of fiber is found in whole grains, kidney beans, bran and fruits, and vegetables. And it also acts like a broom that cleans your digestive tract.

Both of these fibers are only found in plant foods and remember that meat or any dairy products contain no natural fiber. Here let’s see the most common types of fibers and how they can keep you healthy.

1) Cellulose: This insoluble fiber is a primary component of plant cell walls, and many vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower and packed foods including legumes, nuts, and bran. Cellulose keeps the digestive system healthy by aiding the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

2) Inulin: This soluble fiber is naturally found in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, and asparagus, as well as in barley and rye. The health benefit includes an increase in good bacteria in the gut and enhanced immune function.

3) Lignin: This insoluble fiber is found naturally in flax, rye, wheat, corn bran, legumes -beans and peas; vegetables- green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, fruits- avocado, unripe bananas, and nuts and flaxseed. It is extremely good for heart health and proper immune functions.

4) Beta-glucan: This soluble fiber is naturally seen in oats, oat bran, soybeans, bananas, oranges, apples, carrots, beans, peas, barley, flaxseed, berries, etc. It helps in lowering bad LDL cholesterol, thus, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

5) Pectins: This soluble fiber (some pectins can also be insoluble) is naturally found in fruits, berries, and seeds. The main function of this fiber is to slow down the passage of food through the intestinal GI tract, thus helping lower blood cholesterol.

6) Resistant Starch: This soluble fiber is naturally found in oatmeal, legumes, unripened bananas, etc. It may very much help with weight management by increasing fullness and also helps control blood sugars.

The Bottom Line:

Adding more fiber to your diet is a smart way to improve your health and, most likely, lose weight especially after bariatric surgery. Fiber has no magical fat-burning properties but it simply helps you feel full without adding a lot of extra calories to your regular diet.

The bariatric surgery program at the Queensland Bariatrics specializes in the surgical treatment of obesity and provides a comprehensive approach that ensures high safety standards and the latest techniques.

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