Eating more fiber can be an effective tool for weight loss. High-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds are nutritious fillings and can help you lose weight.
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. It provides many health benefits, including improved digestion, reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, and can help with weight control. There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Both are important for health and getting a mix of both is ideal.
In this article, we’ll explore how fiber aids in weight loss, how much you need each day, the best high-fibre foods to add to your diet, and tips for increasing your fibre intake. Read on to learn all about the benefits of fiber and how to use it to reach a healthy weight.
Table of contents
How Can Fiber Help You Lose Weight?
Fiber provides several weight loss benefits. Here’s a look at some of the main ways that eating more fiber can help you lose weight:
- Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the stomach that slows digestion. This helps you feel satisfied and delays hunger.
- It can help you eat less. The increased feelings of fullness that fiber provides allow you to eat less without feeling deprived.
- Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of carbs. This results in a more gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, which provides better appetite control.
- It feeds good gut bacteria. The friendly bacteria in the intestines ferment fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids that support gut health.
- Fiber helps reduce calorie absorption from food. Some of the calories from fiber aren’t absorbed and pass through the body undigested.
- High-fiber foods tend to be low in calories, fat and sugar. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are naturally low in calories while keeping you full.
- Eating more fiber-rich foods often leads to eating fewer unhealthy foods. Filling up on healthy high-fiber foods makes you less likely to reach for empty-calorie foods.
So by helping you eat less, improving blood sugar control, promoting gut health, reducing calorie absorption, displacing unhealthy foods and improving satiety, fiber can play an important role in weight management for many people.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat Per Day?
Nutrition experts recommend getting 25-38 grams of fiber per day, but most people fall short of that. The average American only gets about 16 grams of fiber a day.
Here are the current daily fiber recommendations from the Institute of Medicine:
- Men age 50 or younger: 38 grams
- Men over age 50: 30 grams
- Women age 50 or younger: 25 grams
- Women over age 50: 21 grams
Getting the minimum recommended amount or more provides the greatest benefits for digestion, heart health, stabilizing blood sugar levels, achieving a healthy weight and feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Focus on getting fiber from whole plant foods like fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and whole grains rather than processed foods with isolated fibers added. Also, aim for a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
10 High-Fiber Foods That May Help You Lose Weight
To increase your fiber intake, incorporate more high-fibre foods into your diet. Here are some of the top high-fibre foods, along with their soluble, insoluble and total fiber content per serving:
- Raspberries (8 grams total/ 4 grams soluble/ 4 grams insoluble fiber per cup) – Berries like raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are packed with fiber. The soluble fiber they contain slows the emptying of your stomach to keep you full.
- Lentils (16 grams total/ 7 grams soluble/ 9 grams insoluble per cup) – Lentils are a great source of protein and fibre. The highly soluble fiber keeps you feeling satisfied.
- Oatmeal (4 grams total/ 2 grams soluble/ 2 grams insoluble per cup) – Oats contain beta-glucan soluble fiber, which forms a thick gel that keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.
- Chia seeds (11 grams total/ 10 grams soluble/ 1 gram insoluble per ounce) – These tiny seeds expand in your stomach to make you feel satisfied. They also contain protein and healthy fats.
- Artichokes (7 grams total/ 4 grams soluble/ 3 grams insoluble per medium) – Artichokes are high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Eat them as an appetizer to fill up before dinner.
Focus on getting a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains and nuts. This provides the array of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds you need, along with plenty of fiber.
10 Tips to Increase Your Fiber Intake
Here are some simple ways to add more fiber to your meals and snacks:
- Eat whole fruits – Choose fruits high in fibre like berries, pears, apples and oranges instead of juice.
- Add veggies to meals – Fill at least half your plate with non-starchy veggies at lunch and dinner.
- Enjoy beans often – Add fibre-rich beans like black, pinto and kidney to soups, salads and burritos.
- Replace snacks with fruits/veggies – Swap high-fibre fresh fruits and veggies for low-fibre processed snacks.
- Choose whole grains – Opt for 100% whole grain bread, cereals, rice and pasta over white, refined options.
- Sprinkle seeds and nuts on dishes – Add fibre with chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and almonds.
- Eat the edible skins – Leave edible skins on fruits and veggies when possible for extra fibre.
- Try bran cereal or oatmeal – Enjoy a fibre-filled breakfast with a bowl of oats or bran cereal.
- Bake with whole grains – Use whole wheat or other whole-grain flour in muffins, bread and other baked goods.
- Drink plenty of water – Stay hydrated to support digestion and absorption of fibre.
The Bottom Line on Fiber and Weight Loss
Fiber plays several important roles in weight control. Eating plenty of fiber can help you eat less, manage blood sugar levels, nourish gut bacteria, reduce calorie absorption from food and provide lasting fullness between meals.
Focus on getting at least 25-38 grams of fiber per day from whole plant foods. Load up your diet with fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to support fiber digestion and absorption.
Adding more high-fiber foods to your eating plan can help you lose weight, improve your health and feel great. Focus on fiber-rich foods that you enjoy and find creative ways to add more to your meals and snacks each day.
Top Tips for Achieving Weight Loss with a High-Fiber Diet
Here are some tips for following a high fiber diet for weight loss:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Focus on high fiber options like berries, pears, apples, broccoli, artichokes, peas, and Brussels sprouts.
- Choose whole grains over refined/processed grains. Go for whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, and bran cereals.
- Eat beans, lentils and chickpeas regularly. These are packed with fiber and protein to keep you full. Add them to salads, soups, stews and burritos.
- Sprinkle chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts and nut butters onto dishes for an extra fiber kick.
- Opt for high fiber diet for weight loss snacks like fruits, vegetables, popcorn, whole grain crackers and hummus.
- Drink plenty of water to aid digestion and prevent constipation. Fiber absorbs water in the body.
- Increase fiber intake gradually over a few weeks to allow the digestive system to adjust.
- Read nutrition labels and choose foods with a high % Daily Value for fiber. Look for options with at least 10-15% DV.
- Buy high fiber versions of common foods like bread, tortillas, waffles, pasta and cereal.
- Consider taking a fiber supplement if getting enough from foods alone is difficult. Speak to your doctor first.
- Fiber provides appetite-suppressing effects that can help reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss.
- Aim for 25-38 grams of fiber per day from fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- High-fiber foods like berries, lentils, oats and artichokes help you stay satisfied on fewer calories.
- Increase fiber by eating whole produce, choosing whole grains, adding beans and lentils, and sprinkling seeds and nuts onto meals.
- Fiber works best when combined with adequate fluid intake, exercise and an overall healthy diet.
Yes, eating a high-fiber diet can help you lose weight. Fiber promotes feelings of fullness and helps regulate appetite, which can lead to eating fewer calories overall.
Here are some high-fiber foods that can aid weight loss:
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and dried fruits are all packed with fiber and can help you feel fuller on fewer calories.
Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Eating these high-fiber foods can help you feel full with fewer calories.
No, eggs are not a good source of fiber. They contain almost no fiber, with less than 1 gram per large egg.
Raspberries are an excellent source of fiber, with 8 grams per cup. Blackberries and avocados are also high in fiber for fruits.