What is Fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is present in plant cells. Your body can’t digest fiber, thus it slows the absorption of other types of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, helping to stabilize your blood sugar. It also adds bulk without increasing caloric intake, a very useful weight loss tool. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber – and your body needs both for optimal health.
Some Fiber Basics
Dietary fiber is the part of a plant that your body is unable to digest. There is no fiber in any type of animal product — including dairy, eggs, meat and seafood. Also known as bulk or roughage, fiber can help to maintain bowel regularity, decrease your risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis, relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, stabilize glucose levels, lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss.
The amount of fiber you need depends on your age and gender. Women under 50 years old need 25 g of fiber daily; as you age you need slight less fiber — about 21 g daily. Men need more fiber; at least 38 g daily for adults younger than 50 years and 30 g daily after age 51.
Insoluble Fiber and Weight Loss
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools and helps to keep your digestive system functioning. Whole wheat, nuts and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber. Adding more vegetables to your diet will promote weight-loss because they are less energy-dense than other foods. Lower energy-density means you get a lot of nutrient-dense food but very few calories.
Losing weight requires you to consume fewer calories than you burn, enabling your body to use stored fat as energy. Eating low-calorie foods will decrease your overall caloric intake. Eating low-calorie, high-fiber foods will help you feel full faster and stay satisfied longer, delaying hunger and helping to avoid binge eating.
Soluble Fiber and Weight Loss
Soluble fiber becomes gel-like in water and helps to stabilize glucose levels. Keeping your glucose level even will promote weight loss by helping to stop the cycle of high and low blood sugar. When your blood sugar gets low, known as hypoglycemia, it triggers hunger and a craving for sugar — your body’s quickest source of energy.
When you eat foods high in sugar, your glucose levels rise quickly and your pancreas produces insulin to transport glucose to your cells. Very rapid increases in blood sugar often cause your body to produce too much insulin. That excess insulin in your bloodstream tricks your brain into thinking you’re low on glucose and triggers another craving for more sugar, derailing your weight loss efforts. Keeping blood sugar stable is vital to losing weight.
Foods High in Fiber
Each type of fiber plays a role in weight loss. Increase fiber in your diet by adding more vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, and substitute legumes for animal protein at least twice a week. Black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans have between 8 g and 10 g of fiber per half cup serving. Replace refined flours with whole grains and eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juices and also eat the skin of all vegetables and fruits – much of the fiber content is in the skin.
The Manna Low GI Shakes must be one of the best forms of natural fiber (soluble and insoluble). We don’t add any fiber to the shakes, because the plants we use to formulate the shakes have more than 26% of total fiber per 100g of raw material.
Thus, when using the Manna Low GI Shakes as a meal replacement, you get double advantage; because you replace a meal, get less calories as per normal meal and you get more than enough fiber.