2. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is plant material that resists digestion by humans. Insoluble fiber (also known as roughage) passes through your gut without being broken down. It adds bulk to food without adding any calories.
Soluble fiber travels to the large intestine where bacteria convert it into fatty acids which are used as an energy source. It dissolves in liquid and many types form a viscous gel in the gut which slows the emptying of the stomach, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness.
A review article summarizes the results of studies into the effects of fiber on energy intake and body composition. In studies of people on a calorie-controlled diet, fiber increases feelings of fullness following a meal and decreases subsequent hunger. In studies where participants could eat as much as they liked, eating an additional 14 grams of fiber per day resulted in an average 10% decrease in calories consumed and an average weight loss of four pounds over 3.8 months. Fiber has a greater effect on body weight for obese subjects compared with those of normal weight.
In a trial published in the journal Nutrients, 118 overweight adults were given either a supplement containing a combination of viscous soluble fibers or a control supplement made from rice flour. All participants were equipped with a mobile food recording app which provided the researchers with before-and-after images of all food consumed along with the time and place it was eaten. Measurement of participants’ height, weight and waist circumference were taken before and after the trial.
After 12-weeks of supplementation, the fiber granule group had a significant reduction in waist circumference, weight and BMI compared to the control group. Analysis of the mobile app data showed that they ate less often than before supplementation and reduced their intake of grain-based food.
Good sources of soluble fiber include
- oats, barley and rye
- pectin fruits such as apples, plums and oranges
- root vegetables like carrots and potatoes
- legumes including soybeans, kidney beans and lentils
Method: You can get more fiber in your diet simply by leaving the skin on vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cucumber and fruits like apples and pears. While few people would want to eat an unpeeled piece of citrus fruit, you can zest the rind and use it in cooking. Don’t remove the fibrous membrane surrounding the fruit segments.