What is the High Fiber Diet
It is a fact that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber is the indigestible part of plant-based foods. This fiber occurs most abundantly in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Insoluble fiber, the kind that is not dissolved in water and passes straight through the body, takes with it toxins and fat as it moves through the body. Soluble fiber helps to alleviate things like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and constipation. It can also help lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease.
As fiber is such a beneficial tool in our body's health, the high fiber diet has come into fashion. The high fiber diet is consuming more than 25 grams of fiber a day, at least 8 grams per meal with other grams consumed at snack time. The American Dietetic Association has recommended Americans include 25 grams per day in their diets, but many Americans fall short.
The high fiber diet was designed for those who do not get enough dietary fiber in their daily diets. The diet also states that adding more fiber-rich foods to daily meals can help to satisfy the appetite while still reducing caloric intake. A high fiber diet can also help to lower cholesterol and it can reduce the risk for certain cancers and improve digestive function.
On the high fiber diet, you would eat three meals and a snack daily. A day's meal plan is then designed so that you will consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily from whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Processed foods and sugars are not allowed on the plan. The high fiber diet provides 50-65% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, 20-25% of your caloric intake from protein and less than 30% of your caloric intake from fat. The diet also highly recommends drinking a lot of water, especially in the beginning as you start to increase your fiber intake. Without additional water, you may experience abdominal cramping and constipation.
What Experts Say about the High Fiber Diet
Sari Greaves, AD, of the American Dietetic Association and the dietician for Step Ahead Weight Loss Center in Bedminster, NJ, says that since fiber is a non-digestive food component that can leave you feeling fuller without ingesting additional calories, it is a valuable aid when it comes to weight loss. She also states that trying this program might help people better understand this, and points out that this may be a great way to get them to incorporate healthier eating habits for the long-term.
However, she does note a downside. Greaves reminds us that any diet that does not promote exercising as a way to help cut calories isn't offering a well-rounded picture. She also notes that it may cause gastrointestinal issues with some dieters who are not used to so much fiber in their diets.
As stated previously, the average person does not get the recommended daily allowance of fiber—most consume only around 15 grams of fiber daily. Because of this, Sari Greaves recommends adding an extra 5 grams of fiber a day to your diet to build yourself up to the recommended goal of 25 grams per day prior to trying the program.
Dr. Frank Jackson also recommends the diet, because he says that, “When adequate fiber is consumed, 25-35 grams per day, many amazing health benefits occur in the colon and body.”
So, who does the program work for, or who should try it? Anyone who is looking to add fiber to their diet, or who has heard about the great benefits of fiber and wants to try to make their diet a bit healthier. This diet also works for those who want to eliminate processed foods and sugars.
Great Sources of Fiber
Raw vegetables and fruit are full of fiber, but to be even more specific, look in these places:
- High fiber cereals
- Peanut butter
- Sweet potatoes
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread
Sample High Fiber Diet Meal Plan
- High fiber, low sugar cereal with non-fat milk
- Tuna salad with whole wheat crackers
- Raw carrots and fruit
- Beef and pepper sauté
- Rice pilaf
- Fresh fruit
- Whole wheat crackers
- Low-fat cheese