High fiber foods provide some of the most important substances that our bodies need to process food and the substance fills us up. The good news is that foods high in fiber are so filling, they help with weight loss in the process.
Fiber slows digestion and helps keep blood glucose levels steady for an extended period of time. And because it’s so filling and doesn’t cause a glucose roller coaster ride, it helps keep us from overeating (1).
I’m sure many of the “diets” you’ve tried in the past made you feel hungry like fury! If you want to lose weight by eating and feeling full instead, you definitely need to get more fiber in your diet.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is an indigestible part of a plant that helps the intestines soak up water and “keep things moving,” if you catch my drift (2). Fiber is found predominantly in the following carbohydrates:
Just like you’ve always been told, a healthy portion of a food’s fiber is found in the peel, so eat the apple and potato skins! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can eat the fibrous peel of your kiwi and banana (3). Yes, really!
Fiber falls into one of two categories: it’s either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and some of it is broken down in the body. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and passes through the body almost entirely intact.
Key Point: Fiber is an indigestible part of a plant that fills you up and keeps you “regular.” The best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Benefits of High Fiber Foods
Studies show high fiber food lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fiber moderates blood sugar levels, so it’s usually recommended as part of a diabetes prevention plan. (4).
Fiber also lowers cholesterol levels by sweeping it out of the body. As fiber moves through your body, it collects bile and cholesterol and pushes them outside the body, where I’m sure you’d rather they be (5).
Because it lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation and regulates blood sugar, fiber also reduces your overall heart disease risk (6). Its heart-protective benefits make it a great choice for your everyday diet.
And of course, foods rich in fiber assist with weight loss, which is why we’re here talking about it. Because of its bulking effect, fiber makes you feel full so you don’t eat too much (7).
Key point: Fiber lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood sugar, and fights inflammation. Its also your secret weapon for weight loss.
The Best High Fiber Foods
The Institute of Medicine recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women ages 19-50 and 38 grams for men ages 14-50 (8).
Most people in the US don’t get enough, so chances are you aren’t either. To boost your fiber intake, here’s a list of some of the best high fiber foods:
#1. Boiled split peas, 16.3 grams per 1 cup serving
I know what you’re thinking. Peas, really? You’re not selling me on this whole fiber thing with foods like that, but hear me out. If fiber-rich foods for weight loss had a king, boiled split peas would receive the crown.
Split peas are a nutrition powerhouse! Legumes like split peas provide an excellent nutritional profile that make you feel full and satisfied.
Aside from providing over half of your daily recommended amount of fiber, cooked split peas also contain considerable amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals. They’re a substantial source of plant protein, with a higher satiating effect than meat (9).