As Tanya Zuckerbrot would say “fiber isn’t really a sexy topic” BUT it is seriously important to a healthy diet and weigh loss and management. More on Tanya in a bit (she is a boss and a total babe, btw).
I have always known that fiber is important-I eat a ton of fiber rich veggies and I used to even choke down Metamucil water back in the day (gross and super grandma-esque of me I know). But interestingly enough, when I started tracking my foods, I realized that I wasn’t getting enough fiber…and most people are in that same boat with me. Most people get WAY less fiber than they need per day and don’t even realize it. I tracked Ben’s fiber intake for a week and he was getting less than half of what he needed per day, every day!
Now…you may ask: “but if everything is working fine in my body (ahem…bathroom trips) do I really need to worry about fiber?”
The answer is YES. Fiber has so many health benefits, beyond just digestive ones.
Those benefits are:
♥ Healthy digestive system (obviously-keeps things moving)
♥ Swells in the stomach and makes you feel more full on less food
♥ Boosts metabolism
♥ Lowers cholesterol
♥ Allows you to lose or maintain weight without hunger
♥ Eliminates some of the fat and calories you eat by acting as a sponge (seriously!)
Now, before we talk about all that good stuff, especially how fiber can lower your total carb intake (net carbs) and usher some fat and calories you eat out of your body, lets discuss exactly what fiber is.
Fiber is the non-digestible part of a carbohydrate, and it also happens to have ZERO calories. YEP, you read that right…zero calories. Fiber is naturally found in whole grain carbs, whole fruits like berries, and in vegetables. It is NOT found in white carbs and heavily processed foods, which you should be ditching anyway- I mea, you all know this already right?
The grams of fiber in any food will bring down your total carb amount of that same food. For example, if a food has 15 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fiber, the NET CARB that your body can use, absorb and break down is only 10 grams of carbs. So the more fiber your foods have, the LESS net carbs it will have. The more fiber you eat, the more full you will feel on fewer calories and carbs. Which is a total win. If you eat high fiber, you can actually eat MORE because you will be absorbing less of it and your body will be working overtime to try to break it all down. Pair that with a well-working digestive system and you will be well on your way to the flattest stomach ever! Seriously, since eating this way my stomach has been flatter, less bloated and it just generally feels better all the time.
If you food journal, keep track of your fiber intake and compare it to your carbohydrate intake…then SUBTRACT the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs and see exactly what your body absorbs and uses. I bet you’ll want to start eating more fiber at every single meal.
OK, so let’s get back to the absorption and weight loss part!
If you eat a high fiber meal along with fats and proteins, some of the fat and calories of each meal will be absorbed by the fiber and removed from the body without being digested and absorbed. This is incredible for anyone trying to lose weight because you can still eat, never feel hungry and lose weight in the process!
Plus, you need carbs to function properly…you just do, no matter what anyone else may say. Carbs fuel your furnace…they keep you going. Too many carbs and not the right type of carbs is not good, but you need them in your healthy balanced diet. SO, you should chose high fiber carbs that will keep you full and aid in weight loss or management. Keep the net carbs low, while keeping your furnace stoked all day long and your metabolism will stay strong. By cutting out carbs, your metabolism will naturally slow down because it doesn’t have enough fuel to easily burn, which can lead to your body holding on to weight you may be trying to lose. Eat the right types of carbs, feel full, feel happy and keep your metabolism revved all day long.
Now, back to Tanya Zuckerbrot! She is the brains behind the F-Factor Diet…which I have known about for a longgggg time! She sort of paved the way for the high fiber diet and introduced the world to GG Crackers (the best) many, many years ago. She is a Registered Dietician and has a very impressive medical background working to help patients cure or manage conditions through high fiber diets. Check her out!
So those GG Crackers….you may have heard people talking about them because they have sort of come back into style as of late. I used to eat them back in the day when I was modeling because ALL the models ate them to stay thin. My agency had some in their office and the secret of the GG’s was a very hush hush skinny tip in the industry. GG’s only have 20 calories per slice, 6 grams carb and 4 grams fiber….which means they have 2 net carbs. With that much fiber and that few calories, these crackers burn more calories to break down than they are to eat. Couple that with the fiber sponge in your stomach they create and you are upping your bodies ability to achieve a healthy weight and maintain a high metabolism. They are basically amazing and essential for anyone looking to eat more fiber.
Now, I am going to be totally honest….the crackers don’t taste good. They don’t really taste like anything more than a cardboard crisp- very bland. You won’t like eating them solo, but they are great when used creatively.
I like to top them with hummus, smoked salmon red onions and everything bagel seasoning, smashed avocado and lime juice, raw almond butter and mashed raspberries or raspberry jam, peanut butter and sliced bananas, greek yogurt…I mean you can get pretty creative here. I also break them up and use them as croutons in a salad for a little crunch. You can also pulverize them in your blender and use them as a base for pancakes or as a breading (which I do for my Skinny Chicken Parm- recipe coming next week!!) Get creative with them!
Here are some other super high fiber foods that I eat daily + average fiber grams per serving:
♥ Blackberries 8g
♥ Raspberries 8g
♥ Spinach 4g
♥ Kale 5g
♥ Other leafy greens 4-5g
♥ Broccoli, brussel sprouts and other cruciferous veggies 4-5g
♥ Quinoa 5g
♥ Fiber One cereal 14g
♥ Bran Buds 13g
♥ GG CRACKERS– OBV. 12 g (for 3 crackers)
I typically aim to get between 40-55 grams of fiber per day and it is SUPER easy to do now that I know exactly what I should be eating. I feel amazing when eating this way and the best part is I can still eat out and get all the fiber I need! I also am still able to eat out and drinking responsibly…one thing that Tanya says is why would you cut all of these things out and create weight loss in a false setting? If you want to get to your healthiest weight and feel great, you need to figure out a way to do that without eliminating everything you plan to go back to eating and drinking after you get to that weight. This concept totally hit home to me. Plus it allows me to have my glass of wine at night…YAY!
I’m going to do a third installment of “What I eat in a day” soon to include this new way of eating…just to give you an idea of what it takes to get that much fiber every single day….trust me, it is SO easy.
Happy Friday to all of you! OH AND SHAMELESS PLUG HERE!!!
Don’t forget to tune in to my new Hallmark Channel movie “Love on the Slopes” airing this Saturday, January 6th at 9pm! It is super cute and fun- check out some clips here!