Fiber is a substance that can be found in plants. Dietary fiber is the kind of fiber you eat, which can be consumed from grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber is an important aspect of a healthy diet and assists in weight loss.
Fiber promotes wavelike contractions that enable food to move continually through your intestines. High-fiber foods also expand the inside walls of your colon, which eases waste passage, enabling you to excrete more food, which prevents you from storing as much fat in your body. Eating a high-fiber diet also makes you feel full faster. It can thus help you lose weight by making your appetite easier to control.
Fiber is known to slow down the fat absorption you experience from foods you eat, which is why increasing your intake of high-fiber foods causes your body to absorb less calories. The excretion of people who eat high-fiber diets has a higher fat content than that of people who consume low-fiber diets.
Dietary fiber contributes bulk to your diet. Fiber assists digestion and helps prevent constipation. The National Institutes of Health reports that fiber is sometimes even used to treat diabetes, diverticulosis and heart disease.
Although eating a high-fiber diet does decrease the amount of fat your body absorbs, consuming a large amount of fiber in a short time period can actually cause abdominal cramps, gas and bloating. This normally goes away after your digestive system’s natural bacteria get used to a higher amount of fiber in your diet. Adding fiber to your diet slowly can help decrease diarrhea and gas. Too much fiber might get in the way of absorption of minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. However, this is not cause for concern because high-fiber foods are usually rich with minerals.
Adults should eat between 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day to decrease the amount of fat absorbed by the body. Younger children cannot consume enough calories to do this, but it is still a good idea to introduce them to fresh fruits, whole grains and other high-fiber food items. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals and dried beans and peas to consume enough fiber. Also make sure to drink plenty of water when you consume high-fiber foods.
Avoid consuming a high-fiber diet if you are already underweight and would thus suffer from additional weight loss.