What’s the common denominator in vegetables, fruits and whole grains? That’s right, FIBER. No matter how tough that steak was last night, there’s no fiber in protein or fat. (But I bet it slowed the “fork down, spoon down” process, right?)
Why do I believe that fiber is one of the most important factors in losing weight? Because most nutrients are dispersed through the digestive track. If you fail to dispatch the proper nutrients, let’s say magnesium, your hypothalamus (your brain’s metabolic traffic cop) will nag you until you give in to that scrumptous-magnesium-containing-piece-of-chocolate! By absorbing proper nutrients, it won’t . . . unless it’s emotional eating.
As I’ve encouraged you lately to slow down your dining process, enzymes are being broken down and nutrients are being absorbed/dispersed mostly through your small intestine. Having a clean digestive system will jump-start your metabolism.
Consider this illustration; if you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen? It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell, yuk! And then when it was finally turned on, it would start grinding so slowly that it might even stop if it’s too clogged. Then you would have to snake the trapped particles or use something to unclog it.
This is a description of how our intestinal system works as well. When one consumes mainly meat, fats, junk food and low fiber foods, the intestines get clogged. It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just kinda sits there. Since our bodies can’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, no amount of “dieting” will produce health! Your hypothalamus nags us to eat more food in search of much-needed nutrients, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.
Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less! You’ll have more energy, clearer skin and less disease.
So what’s fiber?
God told Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Wow! How smart is God?!!!
There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Sometimes fruits, vegetables and whole grains include combinations of both.
Soluble fiber; think of it as Liquid Plumr. It turns into a gel which helps lower our treacherous LDL cholesterol. Think apples, oranges, pears, beans and oats, which are excellent sources of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber keeps our blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations.
Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system. Think corn which basically exits intact. Fruit skins are insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.
If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of whole grain bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.
There are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured though, if you eat 60% of your daily calorie intake containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!
- Increase fiber gradually. Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas.
- Build up to 25-35 grams of fiber each day. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.
- I highly recommend getting fiber from Mother Nature, not fiber laxatives due to possible electrolyte imbalance or laxative dependency.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber.
An excellent graph on fiber foods can be found at http://www.nationalfibercouncil.org/food_chart.shtml Any questions?