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Bulk Up on Fiber Facts and Whole Foods

Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories

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Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories. It’s also not digestible or absorbable by the body, but its health benefits earn it the designation of “phytonutrient.” Fitness professionals know that the “average American” (which includes many of our clients) likely isn’t taking in enough fiber. But what is fiber? What are its benefits? How much is enough? And how can fiber help clients meet health and weight goals? That’s a lot of questions! Here are some simple answers about this complex carbohydrate.

Fiber in a Nutshell—or an Apple Skin

Fiber is what gives plants their shape and structure, and it’s found only in plant foods, not animal-based ones. The shape and structure of fiber is what gives our body, most importantly our gastrointestinal tract, the bulk that provides many benefits. To reap the many benefits of fiber such as maintaining a healthy weight, satiety, glucose control, cholesterol reduction, cancer prevention, and gut health from prebiotics, boost your intake of plants.

America: Falling Short on Fiber

In 2014, the average American intake of fiber was only 16 grams per day. The recommended intake of fiber is 25­­­–38 g per day. That’s a big disparity! Women should aim for 25 g of fiber per day, and men should target 38 g (or 21 g for women and 30 g for men daily for those over the age of 51).

Consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds will increase fiber intake. The growing trend of increased plant-based intake (as in flexitarian diets—an expansion on the practice of Meatless Mondays) will hopefully increase the intake of fiber in the American population.

Whole Foods: The Best “Package” for Fiber

In spite of its many health benefits, fiber is not a cure-all that many seek from products, but it is a healthy focus when trying to improve overall health. In fact, it is one number I recommend paying attention to on the food label. I typically recommend paying more attention to reading the more important ingredients list, eating intuitively and eating more whole foods versus the numbers. When people focus on eating whole food versus looking at numbers, they are naturally more satisfied.

Over the years as refining and processing foods has become more prevalent, fiber has become less available in prepared products. This is even more of a reason to focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Take the apple-versus-applesauce-versus-apple-juice example:

  • 1 medium apple with the peel contains 4.4 g of fiber; while
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce contains 1.4 g of fiber; and
  • 4 ounces of apple juice contains 0 g fiber!

Juicing—a popular trend—actually eliminates the fiber from the vegetables and fruits because juicers extract the fiber-filled pulp. And it’s not just fruits that contain more fiber when they’re not processed: The same holds true for soybeans versus tofu. A 1/2 cup serving of soybeans contains 5 g of fiber, whereas 1/2 cup of tofu only has 1 g of fiber.

It is recommended to receive your fiber intake from whole foods over fiber supplements or fortified foods. The foods that contain fiber also contain many other nutrients that a supplement may not contain. Research also shows that a fiber supplement may not have the same power of increasing satiety or managing blood sugar and cholesterol as the whole food does. Fiber-fortified foods may also cause more gastrointestinal issues.

There is not a box, powder or cleanse that you can purchase that will do for you what eating whole food can. Save your money on products and put it into real food. It’s the most beneficial way to reap the produce’s full nutrient and phytonutrient benefits.

Two Types of Fiber, Many Rewards

There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial and provide different perks. All plant foods contain a combination of both insoluble and soluble, but some have a higher amount of one over the other. Take the apple/applesauce/juice example again: The skin of the apple is a source of insoluble fiber, and the inside flesh contains soluble. The juice contains neither. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not. Fiber’s solubility is what determines its benefits.

Insoluble fiber is cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Although insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, it does retain water and helps waste and toxins to move through our system more rapidly. Increasing plant intake usually allows us to feel better and have more energy as it helps the body naturally detoxify. Let your intestines, kidney, liver, and spleen work!

Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as cauliflower, green beans, and the skin of fruits. It helps with colon and breast cancer prevention, regularity and constipation prevention and diverticulosis. The indigestible parts of the plants are also prebiotics for our gut health to feed the probiotics.

Soluble fiber like glucan, psyllium, gum and pectin become gummy substances when water is added—for example, when chia seeds are put in liquid to make chia pudding. This gummy quality allows it to bind to cholesterol, helping the body excrete it. This is also how soluble fiber helps slow the rate at which blood glucose rises—it slows the absorption of the glucose into the bloodstream.

Foods such as oats, beans, apples, carrots and flax are sources of soluble fiber, and they help to promote satiety, a healthy weight, cholesterol reduction and blood glucose control.

Encouraging Clients to Boost Fiber Intake

Many people begin an exercise program for weight loss, then find that they have increased hunger. This is due to increased energy expenditure. One way to help keep hunger in check is increasing fiber intake. Not only does fiber contain zero calories, but the foods that are high fiber are also lower in calories and fat than many other foods.

Caution not to go overboard as there is too much of a good thing. Too much fiber may cause constipation and decrease nutrient absorption. Increase fiber intake gradually and also increase water intake to prevent constipation.

Tip: Fiber is not recommended right before a workout as it may increase gastrointestinal upset. Focus on adequate fiber intake in the meals and snacks post exercise or training.

Easy Ways to Fiber Up

A great place to start with increasing fiber intake is by using the plate method, which includes filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal. The plate method is a more realistic way to track portions for a healthy weight than measuring cups or counting calories. Another method is to aim for the recommended 5 servings (or more) of vegetables and fruits per day. Tips to add more fiber:

  • Choose whole grains with 3–5 g fiber per serving. Look for whole grain breads, brown rice and oats, and consume the whole intact grain versus milled.
  • Enjoy a vegetable or fruit serving with each meal or snack.
  • Add beans to soups, stews, pastas, omelets, salads and casseroles.
  • Have oatmeal versus dry cereal at breakfast, and toss in some whole fruit chunks or berries.
  • For sandwiches, add bulk (no pun intended) with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, peppers and other garden favorites. If you’re not a vegetable eater, getting them on your sandwich makes them easier to consume.
  • Prefer a grain at snack time? Try popcorn versus crackers.

A Quick Guide to Fiber Counts

Here’s a reference that will give you and your clients a good idea of how much fiber is in some popular foods.

Source

Food & Nutrition

Should You Opt for the Gluten-Free Diet?

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Many people are opting for the gluten-free diet in order to ensure that they are able to lose weight as well as increase the energy levels. While some of the people are allergic to gluten but many people are voluntarily opting for the gluten-free diet. The question which remains is if you’re not allergic to gluten, should you opt for the gluten-free diet.

Also, check out: 3 Things You Should Try Out in Keto Diet

Before you make this decision, it is important for you to take into account the few factors. Only once you are able to take into account these factors, you will be able to decide easily whether you should opt for the gluten-free diet or not.

1 Basic reason:
You need to keep in mind that there are many weight loss programs and diets which you can follow. You should only opt for the gluten-free diet when you’re gluten intolerant. According to some stats, only 1% of the population is gluten intolerant. That is why, if you are opting for the gluten-free diet in order to lose weight, you have to think once again.





2 Most of the foodstuffs consist of gluten:
You need to keep in mind that many foodstuffs which you consume on a regular basis consist of gluten. This includes wheat as well as many other grains as well. Additionally, many condiments and spices also include gluten. Also, energy bars and ice creams also include gluten. Thus, whenever you’re looking at the foodstuffs which you cannot consume when you’re on the gluten-free diet, you will realize that there is quite a long list. This is one of the main problems when you’re opting for the gluten-free diet.

3 Eliminating a lot of unhealthy food:
When you are opting for the gluten-free diet, at the same point in time you will be able to eliminate a lot of unhealthy foodstuffs as well. You need to keep in mind that along with that, you will have to eliminate many normal foodstuffs as well. Only when you’re ready for that, you can look forward to the gluten-free diet.

Thus, instead of just following the trend, you have to find out as much information as you can about the gluten-free diet. Once you are able to do that, you will realize that it is not as easy as it sounds. In many of the cases, you will find that there are other diet plans which you can use in order to lose weight more effectively rather than the gluten-free diet.

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Food & Nutrition

3 Things You Should Try Out in Keto Diet

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The ketogenic diet has become quite popular in the last few months. The Internet has been taken aback by the ketogenic diet. Many of the individuals are posting positive results of the ketogenic diet. However, before opting for the ketogenic diet, it is important for you to look into a few factors. Only once you are able to look into these factors, you will be able to understand whether you should opt for the ketogenic diets or not.

Also, check out: 3 Foods That Benefit Your Brain Health

1. Cutting back on carbohydrates really hard:
When you’re looking to opt for the ketogenic diet, one of the main things which you have to always keep in mind is that you will have to cut down on the carbohydrates really hard. The reason for the fat deposit is the carbohydrates. That is why you will be significantly increasing the fat content in your diet when you are consuming carbs. This means that you will have to eliminate many foodstuffs which you currently like from your diet. These will include fruits as well as vegetables and even grains.





2. Limiting the protein:
Along with that, you will have to limit the protein as well. Ideally, when you’re following the ketogenic diet, the quantity of protein is less than 20% of the total calories which you consume throughout the day. That is why essentially you are just consuming a diet which is rich in fats.

3. Increased fat content has its own risks:
Even though, the ketogenic diet states that the fat will be the point of producing energy by the biological the truth is that, when you’re consuming more and more quantity of fat, it can result in cardiovascular problems as well. That is why you have to consult your doctor in advance. Only when the doctor permits you to opt for the ketogenic diet, you can actually think about going ahead to opt for it. You have to always ensure that when you are opting for the ketogenic diet, it is important to understand that you will be consuming fat consistently.

Thus, before getting excited about the ketogenic diet, it is important for you to look into these 3 factors. Only when you are able to weigh in these 3 factors, you will be able to decide whether you should opt for the ketogenic diet or not. You have to be pretty careful with the ketogenic diet and opt for it only when you’re sure it is completely safe for your health.

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Food & Nutrition

5 Drink Options That May Help You Lose Weight

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Most of the diets require you to abstain from drinks entirely. This is because many of the drinks either contain alcohol or they consist of a high quantity of sugar. The truth is that there are a few drink options which will actually help you in losing weight.

Whenever you’re looking to consume any kind of drink or beverage, you have to go for these drink options.

Also, check out: Should You Quit Dairy Products





1 Water:
You need to keep in mind that water will not only help you satisfy your thirst but it will also ensure that you do not consume any calories. Moreover, you will be able to keep your body hydrated as well. With the help of proper hydration, the metabolic activity will be much better which will help you in losing weight.

2 Green tea:
Green tea not only consists of antioxidants but also speeds up the metabolic activity in the body. As a result, the digestion process is improved. This means that the accumulation of fat is reduced. As a result, you can lose weight.

3 Coffee:
You need to keep in mind that you have to consume coffee in the right form. Only when you consume it in the right from that is without milk and sugar, you will be able to gain any kind of benefits. When you consume it without any milk and sugar, the calories in the coffee will be limited as well. As a result, you will be able to consume coffee on a regular basis.

4 Kombucha:
This beverage helps you in improving the current health. Once that is improved, you can be sure that the harmful bacteria will be eliminated from the body. This will ensure that the digestive process is improved which will ensure that you are able to actually lose weight.

5 Turmeric milk:
If you’re drinking warm milk or tea, you have to think about adding turmeric to it. With the help of turmeric, not only you will be able to get a beverage which tastes different but also you will be able to limit the fat accumulation in the body as well. Moreover, it has antioxidant effects as well which will actually help you in avoiding the infections in the body.

Thus, when you’re looking at the drink options which will actually help you in losing weight, these are the few options which you need to look at. With the help of these few options, it will indeed become much easier for you to lose weight. Instead of avoiding drinks altogether, you have to opt for the drinks which are actually beneficial for you when you’re trying to lose weight. Also, these drinks are widely available which ensures that even when you’re eating outside, you will be able to get these drinks as well. Thus, instead of avoiding the beverages altogether, you have to ensure that you are consuming healthy beverages.

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