When you’re trying to lose weight, choosing the right foods to eat can be more than confusing. With so much information out there about what’s good for you and what’s not good for you, what you should focus on and what you should steer clear of, it’s hard to know which to follow. Most recently, gut health is one of the topics at the forefront of every wellness conversation, including those about weight loss. A growing body of research suggests that a healthy microbiome equals a slim waist, including a study that focuses specifically on one gut-healing nutrient — fiber.
Fiber and Weight Loss
There’s been some debate as to how much fiber you really need to eat if you want to lose weight, but according to one study, there’s a magic number that could help you lose up to a pound each week — 28 grams per day.
For the research published in the journal ISRN Obesity, a group of subjects were instructed to increase their fiber intake by 12 grams per day, up to the amount of 28 grams. One group added a cup and a half of beans each day to their diets, and the other group added other high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to their diets. Both groups were also instructed to decrease their calorie intake by 250 to 350 per day. According to the study results, participants reported feeling more full, with less hunger and cravings throughout the day. Not only that, but by the end of the study, they’d lost lost between three and four pounds — just about a pound a week!
This isn’t the first time that increased fiber intake has been linked to a healthier weight. In fact, it’s been found that eating a high fiber diet may help prevent metabolic conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Fiber is an especially important nutrient for digestion, helping to keep bowel movements healthy and regular, which is crucial on any weight loss journey. In addition, it plays a role in helping you feel satiated, and since it feeds the good bacteria in your gut, it’s also said to improve immunity, prevent disease, lower inflammation, and even support good mental health!
The recommended daily intake for fiber is at least 25 grams for women and 30 to 35 grams for men. However, it’s estimated that in the standard American diet, men are only getting around 18 grams while women are eating as little as 15 grams per day. Yikes!
Luckily, as this study suggests, adding more fiber to your diet can be really simple. You can do it like the first group in the study, and eat a cup and a half of beans with lunch or dinner each day. If you struggle with digesting beans or want some variety, you can also add in other high-fiber foods like berries, mangos, kiwis, apples, nuts and nut butters, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, artichokes, carrots, beets, and whole grains.
For more, check out this article on how soluble fiber specifically helps with weight loss! Here’s to a happier gut and healthier body.