Try This Diet “Pill”!

by Jeanne Rhodes

Fiber is so great for weight loss that it has been called “Nature’s Diet Pill”! It expands to fill you up by absorbing lots of water, helping you to feel full eating fewer calories. Even better, research reveals that fiber is a “calorie blocker” - it actually prevents your body from absorbing calories!

“We estimate that each one gram of fiber substituted for simple carbohydrates results in a 7-calorie loss,” says David J. Baer, Ph.D., of the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center, who studied the effect of fiber on 17 people.

This means that if the average American would increase their daily fiber intake from the current 13 grams to about 35 grams, they would automatically absorb almost 200 calories less every day netting at least an 18-20 pound weight loss per year! Eating more high-fiber vegetables, fruits and whole grains will easily increase your fiber intake to help slim you down!

Here’s how. Every gram of fiber has 4 calories - you get none of these calories because your body cannot absorb fiber - it goes straight through your system and out your “back door”! Fiber “wraps around” or combines with some of the calories from other foods as well. It speeds up transit through the intestinal tract to “cancel out” some of these calories before they can be absorbed and stored as fat. Then they’re whisked away as nature takes its course. Fiber also decreases your risk of heart disease and cancer, “...because it helps decrease absorption of cholesterol and cancer-causing substances,” states nutritionist Julie K. Avery, R.D., of the Cleveland Clinic.

The amount of daily fiber intake for best results is 35-45 grams. “To benefit from fiber’s effect of tying up extra calories, you should get it at each meal,” Dr. Baer says. That’s why once-a-day fiber supplements are not recommended. Eating high fiber foods in their natural form, delivers more “calorie-blocking”; fills you up quicker to prevent overeating; keeps you full longer; and prevents blood sugar “crashes” that send you to candy bar machines for a “sugar-fix.”

When you first begin to increase your fiber intake, do it gradually, to give your intestinal tract time to adjust. This will avoid some of the normal, although unpleasant, gastric side effects.

To minimize problems in the beginning:
* Increase fiber very gradually - allow 2 - 3 weeks to reach 35 - 45 grams daily.
* Drink at least 8 glasses of water (10 is even better).
* Use an enzyme gas-blocker such as Beano if needed.

Keep in mind some of the “fiberific” benefits you’ll be getting:
* Shed pounds without feeling hungry.
* Increase your energy.
* Lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.
* Slim down easier.

Rhodes B.A., M.A., is a Nutritionist, Wellness Lifestyle Strategist, Author, and Director of Rhodes Preventive Health Institute in Hagerstown.