This piece is about fiber, but you should read it anyway, especially if you’re looki ng for a healthy way to drop a few pounds. (Don’t worry, we’ll use metaphors for the icky parts.)

Just last month, data crunchers at Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app examined data from 427,000 weight-losing users who had come within 5 percent of their goals. Their food logs looked nearly identical to other users’ in calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and they exercised just five minutes more per day than their counterparts. But the newly slimmer folks ate 29 percent more fiber.

A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found similar results: People who simply ate more fiber lost almost as much weight as others who made complicated changes to their diets.

 

Dieters

GRAMS OF FIBER/DAY

13.5

Successful

Unsuccessful

10.5

Note: Both of these are

well below the

recommended

amount of 25 to

30 grams per day.

Successful dieters ATE MORE of these foods.

29% more

Fiber

17

Cereal

Cauliflower

12

10

Almonds

10

Cashews

Beans and peas

5

Brussels sprouts

4

What is this magical stuff?

Fiber is a carbohydrate, like starch and sugar, and it comes from plants. That means those successful weight-losers didn’t eat more carbs, just different ones.

Humans don’t have the enzymes to digest most fiber, and that is why it works wonders in our innards.

This is how.

 

Imagine little brooms . . .

Fiber comes in two types. The first kind, soluble fiber, forms a gel when mixed with water and puts the goo in such foods as oatmeal and lentils. It works like tiny brooms, grabbing cholesterol from digestive juices and sweeping it out of our bodies, said Boston University nutrition professor Joan Salge Blake. This lowers cholesterol in blood. Other broom-rich foods are beans, barley, pears, citrus fruit and apples.

. . . and imagine big trains

The second type is insoluble fiber; Grandma called it “roughage.” It soaks up water like a sponge, speeding things through the gastrointestinal tract by making everything bigger and softer.

“It’s like a Metro train zipping right through your body,” said Blake, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It keeps things moving along — as long as there are no breakdowns.”

Drinking plenty of water and getting exercise such as an extra walk around the block will help keep the trains moving.

Some train-rich foods are bran cereal, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Great, but how is this

making me skinnier?

Whole foods with lots of fiber take longer to eat and digest than their processed counterparts — an apple vs. apple juice or a baked potato vs. potato chips, for instance — and they often have fewer calories per serving, said registered dietitian Vandana Sheth, also of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fiber in whole foods fills you up more quickly, and many experts say it may keep you feeling full longer (although not as long as protein).

As a way to get more fiber, liquid and satisfying protein in one meal, Blake recommends soup that contains vegetables and beans, which are a great source of both fiber and protein.

How NOT to add extra fiber

to your diet

“Terrific!” you may think. “I will eat mountains of fiber starting right now!”

Do not do that. Bad things can happen if you drop an f-bomb into an unsuspecting GI tract. If you don’t drink enough water, a load of dry fiber can cause a train backup as dire as a broken rail in Rosslyn at rush hour. Also, colon bacteria love fiber and they gobble it like Skittles. But then they produce gas, which can cause cramping, bloating and unfortunate social repercussions.

Sheth tells her clients to add three to five grams of fiber per day — an extra piece of fruit or serving of veggies — until they are averaging 25 to 35 grams. That amounts to a bowl of bran cereal and a pear above the U.S. average.

 

Other reasons fiber is fab

In addition to weight loss and heart health, researchers say fiber may reduce levels of chronic inflammation.

A study published last week in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine even links high-fiber meals to better, deeper sleep.

And if none of that convinces you, how about this? Fiber — especially the kind in beans and legumes, the kind that other countries call “pulses” — might actually be trendy. In fact, the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses. If that’s not a shout-out to fiber, we don’t know what is.

his piece is about fiber, but you should read it anyway, especially if

you’re looking for a healthy way to drop a few pounds. (Don’t worry,

we’ll use metaphors for the icky parts.)

Just last month, data crunchers at Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app

examined data from 427,000 weight-losing users who

had come within 5 percent of their goals. Their food logs

looked nearly identical to other users’ in calories,

protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and they exercised just

five minutes more per day than their counterparts.

But

the newly slimmer folks ate

29 percent more fiber

.

A study published last year in the Annals of Internal

Medicine found similar results: People who simply ate

more fiber lost almost as much weight as others who

made complicated changes to their diets.

Dieters

GRAMS OF FIBER PER DAY

Successful

13.5

Unsuccessful

10.5

Note: Both of these are well

below the recommended

amount of 25 to 30

grams per day.

What is this magical stuff?

Successful dieters

ATE MORE

of these foods.

29% more

Fiber

Fiber is a carbohydrate, like starch

and sugar, and it comes from plants.

17

Cereal

That means those successful

12

Cauliflower

weight-losers didn’t eat more carbs,

10

Almonds

just different ones.

Cashews

10

Humans don’t have the enzymes to

5

Beans and peas

digest most fiber, and that is why it

4

Brussels sprouts

works wonders in our innards.

This is how.

Imagine little brooms . . .

Fiber comes in two types. The first kind,

soluble fiber

,

forms a gel when mixed with water and puts the goo in

such foods as oatmeal and lentils. It works like tiny

brooms, grabbing cholesterol from digestive juices and

sweeping it out of our bodies, said Boston University

nutrition professor Joan Salge Blake. This lowers

cholesterol in blood. Other broom-rich foods are

beans, barley, pears, citrus fruit and apples.

. . . and imagine big trains

The second type is

insoluble fiber

;

Grandma called it “roughage.” It soaks up

water like a sponge, speeding things through

the gastrointestinal tract by making everything bigger and softer.

“It’s like a Metro train zipping right through your body,” said Blake, who is also a

spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It keeps things moving

along — as long as there are no breakdowns.”

Drinking plenty of water and getting exercise such as an extra walk around the

block will help keep the trains moving.

Some train-rich foods are bran cereal, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Great, but how is this making me skinnier?

Whole foods with lots of fiber take longer to eat

and digest than their processed counterparts —

an apple vs. apple juice or a baked potato vs.

potato chips, for instance — and they often

have fewer calories per serving, said

registered dietitian Vandana Sheth, also

of the Academy of Nutrition and

Dietetics.

Fiber in whole foods fills you up more

quickly, and many experts say it may

keep you feeling full longer (although

not as long as protein).

As a way to get more fiber, liquid and

satisfying protein in one meal, Blake recommends soup that contains

vegetables and beans, which are a great source of both fiber and protein.

How NOT to add extra fiber to your diet

“Terrific!” you may think. “I will eat

mountains of fiber starting right now!”

Do not do that.

Bad things can

happen if you drop an f-bomb into an

unsuspecting GI tract. If you don’t drink

enough water, a load of dry fiber can

cause a train backup as dire as a broken

rail in Rosslyn at rush hour. Also, colon

bacteria love fiber and they gobble it

like Skittles. But then they produce gas,

which can cause cramping, bloating and

unfortunate social repercussions.

Sheth tells her clients to add three to

five grams of fiber per day — an extra

piece of fruit or serving of veggies —

until they are averaging 25 to 35 grams.

That amounts to a bowl of bran cereal

and a pear above the U.S. average.

Other reasons fiber is fab

In addition to weight loss and

heart health, researchers say fiber

may reduce levels of chronic

inflammation.

A study published last week in

the Journal of Clinical Sleep

Medicine even links high-fiber

meals to better, deeper sleep.

And if none of that convinces

you, how about this? Fiber —

especially the kind in beans and

legumes, the kind that other

countries call “pulses” — might

actually be trendy. In fact, the

United Nations has declared

2016 the International Year of

the Pulses. If that’s not a

shout-out to fiber, we don’t

know what is.

his piece is about fiber, but you should read it anyway,

especially if you’re looking for a healthy way to drop a

What is this magical stuff?

few pounds. (Don’t worry, we’ll use metaphors for the

Fiber is a carbohydrate, like starch and

icky parts.)

sugar, and it comes from plants. That

Just last month, data crunchers at Under Armour’s

means those successful weight-losers

MyFitnessPal app examined data from 427,000 weight-losing

didn’t eat more carbs, just different ones.

users who had come within 5 percent of their goals. Their food

Successful dieters

ATE MORE

of these foods.

logs looked nearly identical to other users’ in calories, protein,

fat and carbohydrates, and they exercised just five minutes more

29% more

Fiber

per day than their counterparts. But the newly slimmer folks ate

17

Cereal

29 percent more fiber

.

12

Cauliflower

A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine

10

Almonds

found similar results: People who simply ate more fiber lost

Cashews

10

almost as much weight as others who made complicated changes

5

to their diets.

Beans and peas

4

Brussels sprouts

Dieters

GRAMS OF FIBER PER DAY

Humans don’t have the enzymes to digest

Successful

13.5

most fiber, and that is why it works won

-

Unsuccessful

10.5

ders in our innards.

This is how.

Note: Both of these are well

Imagine little brooms . . .

below the recommended

amount of 25 to 30

Fiber comes in two types. The first

grams per day.

kind,

soluble fiber

, forms a gel when

mixed with water and puts the goo in such

foods as oatmeal and lentils. It works like

tiny brooms, grabbing cholesterol from

digestive juices and sweeping it out of our

bodies, said Boston University nutrition

professor Joan Salge Blake. This lowers

cholesterol in blood. Other broom-rich

foods are beans, barley, pears, citrus

fruit and apples.

. . . and imagine big trains

The second type is

insoluble fiber

;

Grandma called it “roughage.” It soaks up

water like a sponge, speeding things

through the gastrointestinal tract by making

everything bigger and softer.

“It’s like a Metro train zipping right

through your body,” said Blake, who

is also a spokeswoman for the Academy

of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It keeps

things moving along — as long as there are

no breakdowns.”

Drinking plenty of water and getting

exercise such as an extra walk around the

block will help keep the trains moving.

Some train-rich foods are bran cereal,

whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Great, but how is this making me skinnier?

Whole foods with lots of fiber take longer to eat and digest than their

processed counterparts — an apple vs. apple juice or a baked potato vs. potato

chips, for instance — and they often have fewer calories per serving, said

registered dietitian Vandana Sheth, also of the Academy of Nutrition and

Dietetics.

Fiber in whole foods fills you up more quickly, and many experts say it may

keep you feeling full longer (although not as long as protein).

As a way to get more fiber, liquid and satisfying protein in one meal, Blake

recommends soup that contains vegetables and beans, which are a great source

of both fiber and protein.

How NOT to add extra fiber to your diet

“Terrific!” you may think. “I will eat mountains of fiber starting right

now!”

Do not do that.

Bad things can happen if you drop an f-bomb

into an unsuspecting GI tract. If you don’t drink enough water, a

load of dry fiber can cause a train backup as dire as a broken rail in

Rosslyn at rush hour. Also, colon bacteria love fiber and they gobble

it like Skittles. But then they produce gas, which can cause cramping,

bloating and unfortunate social repercussions.

Sheth tells her clients to add three to five grams of fiber per day — an

extra piece of fruit or serving of veggies — until they are averaging 25 to

35 grams. That amounts to a bowl of bran cereal and a pear above the

U.S. average.

Other reasons fiber is fab

In addition to weight loss and heart health, researchers say fiber may reduce

levels of chronic inflammation.

A study published last week in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine even

links high-fiber meals to better, deeper sleep.

And if none of that convinces you, how about this? Fiber — especially the

kind in beans and legumes, the kind that other countries call “pulses ” —

might actually be trendy. In fact, the United Nations has declared 2016 the

International Year of the Pulses. If that’s not a shout-out to fiber, we don’t

know what is.

SOURCE: Additional sources: Trinh Le, registered dietitian for MyFitnessPal; Maggie Powers, research scientist at the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet and president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association; Harvard School of Public Health; "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; National Institutes of Health; "Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial," by Yunshen Ma, et al. .