Eat More, Feel Fuller, and Lose Weight
I was going to name this article “Eat Fewer Calories by Eating Less Unhealthy Food and More Healthy Foods and Exercise More“, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. While exercise is not the vehicle alone to lose weight by, it is just as important in your quest to eat more, feel fuller, and lose weight.
I am going to discuss a whole-foods approach, where you just focus on eating foods that are good for you overall. In a nutshell, the whole-foods approach involves eating more quality food and less crappy food. You can stuff yourself to the brim if it’s with the right kind of healthy food. Oh yes you can!
“A high increase in fiber has led to the best weight loss results”
I’m sure you’ve read that we should all be eating a lot of fiber. A high increase in fiber has led to the best weight loss results for most people. A recent study found that people who added more fiber to their diets lost almost as much weight as people who followed the heart-healthy, low-fat eating plan recommended by the American Heart Association.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that makes you feel full. Most dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed. It stays within the intestine where it helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep your hunger and blood sugar in check. Soluble fiber has a high viscosity (thickness) and has been shown to increase the feeling of fullness (satiety), reduce appetite and cause weight loss. Insoluble fiber helps keeps you regular by creating bulk in your intestines, again contributing to satiety. Both types of fiber require increased water intake, but make sure to drink at least 8 glasses with insoluble fiber, otherwise you may end up constipated.
We are going to focus mainly on insoluble fiber. This type of fiber will move through your digestive system faster, because it will be acted upon by gut friendly bacteria very quickly. The USDA recommends 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. Highly viscous fiber sources come in the form of beans (legumes), flax seeds, asparagus, oranges, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and oats, to name a few.
Abdominal discomfort, cramps and even diarrhea are common side effects if you ramp up your fiber intake too quickly. So be sure to increase your daily intake slowly.
“Eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, and legumes are the real answer to weight loss”
After doing a quick analysis (using nutritional values from Google search) of what 100 calories of various foods give you, the results are clear. Eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, and legumes are the real answer to weight loss. Not only do you get fiber, you’ll also get so much more.
For comparison, a 100 calorie portion of:
- 300g of Broccoli, 9g of proteins, 7.4g of fiber, 948mg of potassium, 36% of daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 12% recommended Calcium, 9% recommended iron, 30% B6 and 15% Magnesium
- 400g of Cabbage, 5.26 of proteins, 10g of fiber, 580mg of potassium, 4% vitamin A, 16% calcium, 8% iron, 20% B6 and 12% magnesium
- 32g of wheat bread, 4.2g of proteins, 1.5g of fiber, 71mg of potassium, 0% vitamin A, 5% calcium, 7% iron, 3.2% B6 and 4.5% of magnesium
- 33g of ground beef, 4.7g of proteins, 0 fiber, 72mg of potassium, 0% vitamin A, less than 1% calcium, 2.7% iron, 5% B6 and 1% magnesium
- 100g of fruit-flavored non-fat yogurt, 4.4g of proteins, 0 fiber, 192mg of potassium, 0% vitamin A, 15% calcium, 0% iron, 0% B6 and 3% magnesium
- 200g of Apple (that’s about one large apple, but it varies), 0.6g of proteins, 4.8g of fiber, 215mg of potassium, 2% vitamin A, 0 calcium, 0 iron, 0 B6 and 2% magnesium
When trying to lose weight, you’ll have to limit total calories, but make every calorie count. A calorie from a vegetable contains more of the stuff your body needs (nutrient dense): proteins, minerals, vitamin, fiber. You’ll need a lot of food to get those calories. More than 10 times more when comparing cabbage with wheat bread, counted by mass. By eating more, you will feel that much fuller.
Of all the diets; vegan, paleo, low-fat, low-carb and countless others, make sure soluble fiber in the form of mainly fruit, vegetables, and legumes occupies the biggest place on your plate.
Look for small, rich colored and strong flavored fruits and vegetables. Berries are great, and Heirloom cherry tomatoes, instead of bigger ones also are better. Fancy up your vegetables to reduce boredom. Broccoli and carrots can be pan fried with spinach, butter and garlic. Roast your cauliflower and dust with curry powder. Sautée brussels sprouts with salt, pepper, and garlic. Microwave asparagus with lemon and grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t forget avocados. There are 13g of fiber in 1 avocado! Spread it on your toast for breakfast.
Now for the legumes. Lentils have up to 7g of fiber/serving. Eaten for lunch and dinner you can easily get 30g fiber daily. Same goes for Pinto beans. For weight loss, both are greatly recommended mainly because they are a good source of protein (7-8g per meal) which is also helps with satiety. Do your research on the nutritional value of other legumes and slowly add them to your diet. You can deal with gas build up in your digestive system by rinsing them well if they are from a can. Chew them really well if cooking from scratch. You can do a lot with lentils from, making soups and stews, to including them in salads, and making spreads. Pinto beans can be used in the same manner.
“With regular consumption your body will adapt”
Overall, if you’re not used to a large fiber intake, with regular consumption your body will adapt. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes, can account for your total daily caloric intake. However, there is no reason to exclude meat or starches. Just limit their portions.
In conclusion, if your goal is weight loss, you can’t go wrong with increasing your fiber intake, and doing exercise. When you add a workout into the mix, your metabolism will go up, and you will feel hungrier. Go ahead and eat more fiber! Fiber has all the nutrients you need in a good healthy form, and will keep you satiated without the added fats, and empty calories.
- Annals of Internal Medicine: “Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial” http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2118594
- UptoDate: “Patient information: High-fiber diet (Beyond the Basics)” http://www.uptodate.com/contents/high-fiber-diet-beyond-the-basics
- “Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity:relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology” http://press.psprings.co.uk/gut/june/gut308778.pdf