Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Can I Lose Weight by Exercising?

 Can I lose weight by exercising? We have been told by everyone from the fast food industry to the local gym that the key to weight loss is exercise. Is this really true? Many patients come in and tell me they have been trying to lose weight through exercise for years, and are frustrated because it does not work very well -and they wonder if something is wrong with them. In our office we explore many hidden reasons why people may not be able to lose weight, and make sure there is "nothing wrong" that we can easily fix (such as hypothyroidism, over the counter medications that are causing weight gain, etc.) but that said, exercise, when used all by itself, is not the best way to lose weight. I experienced this problem myself in the 1990’s when I initially tried to address my own obesity with exercise by itself. It was not that difficult to lose 10 pounds through exercise, but I seemed  to hit an insurmountable plateau and could not lose any further. New research shows why this is the case.

We have known for years through studies like the National Weight Control Registry that exercise is very important to help keep weight off after we have lost it, but in the initial phases of weight loss, diet is a more important factor than exercise. Of course exercise is important for our health, regardless of its impact on our weight. And new research shows that exercise does help with weight loss - but only up to a certain amount of exercise. When exercise becomes extreme, it is no longer helpful in the battle to lose further weight, due to a physiologic quirk in our metabolism. Long story short, if we exercise too intensely for too long, our body turns our metabolism down when we are at rest. In other words, excess exercise can backfire, by putting our body into a "panic mode"; our body tries to hold onto some fat. We have seen this again and again in our patients who become high-intensity athletes, marathon runners and triathletes. They have been losing weight nicely, then ramp up their exercise intensity, and suddenly they are having difficulty losing weight. This research study gives us some insight into why this happens:

So when it comes to exercise, what should we do? It's a matter of finding the sweet spot, just the right amount of exercise for where we currently are in terms of our fitness and overall health. If people are entirely sedentary, we recommend  that they check with their primary care medical provider to see if they need any cardiac testing before beginning, particularly if they have risk factors for cardiac disease, diabetes, or other health problems. Most patients are able to safely start with a 10 minute walk, and they can use something called the talk test to make sure the intensity is right for them.



If you are already a moderate exerciser, and want to lose more weight, it is more important at this point to address your diet rather than try to increase your exercise intensity – you will get much better results that way! If you are already working out at a gym or doing an intense exercise regimen and are stuck, again the answer is to have a complete review and revamp of your diet plan, to make sure you are getting the most benefit from all of your efforts!

As for the "perfect" plan, there is no "one-size-fits-all diet" . There are many new fads out there in 2018, and one thing we help patients do is sort through information that appears to be conflicting, and find what works best for each person’s unique body and needs.  The National Weight Control Registry shows that the “best diet” for an individual is one that is sustainable for the long term…fad diets and extreme approaches simply do not give good long-term results, and are a waste of our valuable time, energy and money. It’s also important to note that our needs change over time, as we get older, face hormone challenges, medical conditions, metabolic syndrome, and more, we need to have our diet changed to meet our needs and goals.

The best plans are realistic, detailed, science-based. Food should be tailored to your lifestyle, needs, and preferences.  Any food plan should meet the “four enoughs” criteria - it should be simple enough, tasty enough, filling enough, and should yield “good enough” results.  If your plan is not working, don’t give up on your health - instead, re-evaluate your plan.

If you need help, give us a ring! (603) 379-6500.  Read more about our program: healthyweightcenter.com

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top 10 Reasons Weight Loss Resolutions Fail - And How to Succeed

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.  Why do so many people struggle and fail?  Here are the top ten reasons.

1. Focusing on the Wrong Thing
If you want to lose excess weight, do you think your goal should be a particular number on the scale?  Think again!  If you really want to succeed, for the long term as well as the short, you have to focus on strategies and skills which are supported by research.  As one patient said, “If I start wrong, I’ll end wrong.”   Very true.

To borrow a term from my colleague Dr. David Katz of Yale, success requires “skillpower” more than willpower.  Learning what works from an expert who knows the science, practicing the techniques until they become “second nature”, and having support to get back on track when you inevitably slip (no one is perfect) are keys for sustainable, healthy weight.

2. Falling for Fads
Fad diets, quick fixes, and ads for “magic bullets” for weight loss are a waste our valuable time, energy, and money.  Even worse, they steal our self-esteem and momentum. The real danger of fad diets is that since they don’t work, they make people discouraged, and feel like failures. People can end up feeling exhausted and depressed, and give up on healthy lifestyle change.

Don’t let fad diets steal your thunder!  It makes more sense to invest in our health, learn what actually works, and focus our energy on effective changes, not waste time on snake oil.
There is actually fairly robust science which tells us which strategies are likely to yield the best results - and learning what they are can make all the difference in your success.

3. Making Too Many Changes - or Too Few 
If we try to change too much, too quickly, we can become overwhelmed, and give up. On the other hand, if we make too FEW changes, we will not see any significant results, and we will also give up! For example, have you ever thrown yourself into an extreme diet or exercise regimen, only to find it is too complicated or too unpleasant? Nearly every one of us has done that at some point, and we just stop.  On the other hand, have you ever decided you’ll try to lose weight just by parking a little farther out in the parking lot, and walking a tiny bit more? Walking is great, and we should try to sneak in activity whenever we can, but it is unrealistic to expect substantial weight loss from a relatively minor change. 

When it comes to healthy lifestyle change, we need to find the “sweet spot” - not so little that we see no results and get frustrated, but not so many that we become overwhelmed and give up. Finding the sweet spot can be tough, and it can be hard to decide what to change first.

Many people benefit from having an expert evaluate their current lifestyle and challenges, and help lay out a plan to move forward at just the right pace.  An expert can also help you sort out your long term goals (“where you want to go”), and design a research-based path (“the best way to get there.”)

4. Trying to Go It Alone
I’m not sure if it’s our Puritan heritage, our rugged American individualism (and I’m certainly a product of both myself), or something else, but too many people feel deep in their hearts that they should be able to win the weight loss battle all by themselves.  They feel guilty, even like failures when they need assistance, support, and guidance.

Don’t fall for it! No man (or woman) is an island.  Get the help you need - you deserve it!  Research from the National Weight Control Registry, a database of remarkably successful people who have lost an astonishing amount of weight, and kept it off for long term, reveals that  most people who succeed have professional support. We live in a very challenging modern world which makes it difficult to control our weight; experts call it an “obesogenic environment”.  In short, we are challenged on all sides - by “addictive food”, stress, sedentary lifestyles, poor quality sleep, nutritional deficiencies and more.  We can use all the help we can get to fight back, and thrive through it all. Don’t try to go it alone - and don’t feel bad for needing a support team!  

5. Failing to Plan, or Planning to Fail
Without a plan, we are doomed to fail.  But we need more than a vague plan - we need specifics.  The devil, and the angel, are in the details.  A plan without details, without specifics, is not really a plan at all. For example, if you tell yourself you are going to “eat better”, but do not have a shopping list, a meal plan, and do not have any support or accountability, you are unlikely to succeed.

The best plans are realistic, detailed, science-based. The plans should be realistic given your lifestyle, needs, and preferences.  Any food plan should meet the “four enoughs” criteria - it should be simple enough, tasty enough, filling enough, and should yield “good enough” results.  If your plan is not working, don’t give up on your health - instead, re-evaluate your plan.

6. Perfectionism: The Perfect Trap
Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword - it can work for us, or against us. Have you heard the expression “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”?  Being conscientious and focused, goal-oriented, and detail-oriented can be helpful - BUT - too much of a good tendency can backfire.  A common trap is trying to be perfect, and when we can’t live up to that, giving up entirely (and beating ourselves up.) “All or nothing” thinking often leads so “nothing” in the end!  

People most susceptible to this are high-performing, successful, go-getter, often “Type A personalities.”  They are often successful as parents, in careers, in creative endeavors, in the community and more - and are all the more frustrated because they are “failing” when it comes to achieving a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle.  What they really need to do is give themselves a break!  No one is perfect, and life gets in the way of the most perfect plans.

Rather than deny perfectionist tendencies, or let them get in our way, let’s make them work FOR OUR SUCCESS.  Plan ahead to have some wiggle room in your diet, exercise routine, and lifestyle in general.  If you need to quantify it, many people use the 80-20 rule - they stay on track at least 80% of the time, but give themselves 20% wiggle room.  Remember, no one is perfect, and if you hold yourself to an impossible standard, you will be disappointed.  The best goal is to be “good enough” following your new lifestyle to achieve the health and weight goals you’d like.  Let “progress, not perfection” become your motto.

7. Quitting when you fall off the wagon.
Change is not a one step process, it does not happen overnight, and it does not come without bumps in the road, even relapses. I’ve discussed the four most common culprits of relapse, and how to address them, in another blog:  http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2015/06/four-culprits-of-relapse-why-we-fall.html

 It takes smokers an average of FIVE attempts before successfully quitting - and that involves changing just one habit.  Weight loss involves multiple changes, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you have tried, slipped off track, and find you need to try again. Rather than think of past weight loss attempts as failures, treat them as learning experiences, and “partial successes”.  Look back at what did work, what you liked, go back to tried and true tactics, and carry those forward into your new plan.

It’s also important to look back at what did NOT work, as well.  Analyzing challenges is not “making excuses”, it is a necessary step to plan ahead to overcome those challenges in the future. Sometimes there is a single trigger that throws us off track, over and over. Once we know that trigger, we can make plans to circumvent it.

And don’t forget: plan ahead to “mess up”. Yes, you read that correctly.  People in the National Weight Control Registry who are extraordinarily successful in losing weight, and keeping it off, are not perfect, it turns out.  They are, however, very good at forgiving themselves and have a plan in place to get right back on track!  Have your support team and “rapid recovery” plan all set BEFORE the inevitable happens.  A successful patient once told me, “I finally figured it out, everyone falls off the wagon, then we have a choice - climb back on the wagon, or let it run over us!” She does not let the wagon run over her any more.

8. Having “Unmet Needs”
 If we are deprived of any of our basic human needs - sleep, relaxation, recreation, time alone, time with others, spiritual needs, creative needs, the need to connect with something larger than ourselves, the need to feel like we are contributing to the world - it is easy to turn to food to fill the gap. If you find you are eating out of control, stop and ask yourself if there is another “need” that is going unmet.  It’s easy to make the mistake of EATING to try to fill those needs - but remember “If the inner baby is crying, maybe he or she isn’t hungry for food.”  Figuring out what we REALLY need can take a little time and reflection, and sometimes talking to someone can help.

9. Forgetting to Have Fun
Life is too short to miss out on fun - and the good news is that allowing yourself a little indulgence - even “being a little bad” can have very good weight results in the end.

Let yourself feel like you’ve treated yourself a bit, or even that you have “gotten away with something”.  This strategy is actually based on research which shows that people can only stand feeling deprived for so long… then they ‘act up’ in some way.  If they are on a very tight financial budget, they tend to overindulge in unhealthy foods.  And if they “treat themselves” in a non-food way (indulging in some retail therapy, sneaking away to a bookstore or cafe, stealing some me-time with a favorite hobby, a quick spa treatment, or a warm bath) they may find it easier to control their eating, and stay on track with healthy food patterns.

Also remember that food can be both fun and healthful - this was the main topic of my interview for Martha Stewart Living Magazine: http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2014/02/dr-warren-featured-in-martha-stewart.html

Exercise can be fun too - as long as you don’t try to do too much, too quickly, and try to find something that is enjoyable (or at least not painful). http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/starting-fitness-program-dr-warrens.html?q=starting+exercise
10. Having a Hidden Medical Road Block
I have attended more medical weight management courses, conferences, and symposiums than I can count over the past 20 years, from Harvard, to the Obesity Society, the Obesity Medical Association, and more (and have contributed my fair share of lectures).  One of the favorite topics which is revised, again and again, is the challenge of hidden medical causes of weight gain. There are numerous causes, including undiagnosed or suboptimally managed medical conditions (everything from vitamin D deficiency, to hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and more), prescription medications (for depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and more), even over-the-counter medications.  A favorite “trick question” for physicians new to the field is to ask them to review a medical history for a hidden cause of weight gain...and the answer is Tylenol PM for sleep, since it contains diphenhydramine (also known as Benadryl).

Strangely, even though these causes are easily spotted by experts who are board-certified in Obesity Medicine, they are often overlooked by physicians who are not trained in medical weight management.  How can that be? 
Don’t be angry at your other physicians, if they have not spotted a contributing factor.  The reality is that very little attention is given to medical causes or treatment of obesity in most medical schools, or even in residencies (including primary care residencies). In order to learn to become an expert in the field, physicians must pursue advanced training, either through course programs offered by several medical organizations, or through a fellowship in Obesity Medicine. Once the coursework is completed and certified, physicians may submit an application to take a comprehensive exam.  Once approved they may sit for the exam, and if they pass, they receive board certification by the American Board of Obesity Medicine.  When I originally received my board certification, there were two additional steps: an oral examination before the board, and a site visit by a board member, which included a full view of practices and procedures, as well as a chart review (we were required to be in practice for a full year before we would could apply for certification). Certification has become more streamlined and focused, and multiple physician organizations have come together with the new process.

Many physicians are only now learning about the subspecialty of Obesity Medicine, and are just beginning to realize that Obesity can be a complex medical challenge - but one that may be treated successfully, using a variety of methods and tools now available. If you would like a full evaluation to search for hidden medical road blocks to weight loss, and a plan to address them, you may want to meet with an Obesity Medicine specialist.

So there you have it, the top ten reasons weight loss resolutions fail, and some strategies which can create success.

If you would like help on your journey to a healthier weight and lifestyle, we are here for you!  Call any time at (603) 379-6500, and read more at healthyweightcenter.com

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Evening Eating and Dining Out: 10 Quick Tips to Stay in Control

Evening time can be a challenge for calorie control!  When eating at home, we sometimes find ourselves munching endlessly after dinner.  Is there a way to control this?  The answer is yes - and tips are below.  Eating out can also be a challenge - it can be an enjoyable, yet “dangerous” experience!  How can we enjoy ourselves, have fun with friends in a relaxed setting, savor delicious food, but also avoid sabotaging our healthy routine?  Can we eat out, without regret?  The answer  again is yes, especially if we plan ahead a bit, using a few key strategies.  Here are ten quick tips to stay in control.  

  1. Do not “starve yourself” to save calories for dinner - it will backfire. Bring protein snacks with you to work if going out to eat right after work, and consider eating them in the late afternoon on eat-at-home nights.

  1. Before eating dinner or heading out to a restaurant, drink 8-16 ounces of water, and consider taking a fiber supplement containing soluble fiber. Fiber creates fullness even before you eat, via the “Volumetrics Effect” - the soluble fiber acts like a sponge, holding water in your stomach, stretching the greater curvature of the stomach, and turning down the “hunger hormone” called ghrelin.  Fiber also “delays gastric emptying” (keeps food in your stomach longer), so you will feel full for a longer time after your meal, as well - this can help with after-dinner desert cravings. The fullness signal takes 20-45 minutes to start. These strategies will give time and enhance fullness signaling. Fiber also helps lower the glycemic index of your subsequent meal, which means that your blood sugar will rise more gradually, instead of "spiking and crashing", helping control your appetite and blood glucose levels. (For more on fiber see: http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2015/02/fiber-and-weight-loss-new-research.html and http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2015/06/high-fiber-low-carb-foods-for-weight.html?q=soluble+fiber

  1. Once at the dinner table, drink 8 more ounces of water before eating anything else.
  2. Do not start with bread, butter, or alcohol. Instead have an appetizer with protein and fiber.  (Ideas: shrimp cocktail, salad, chicken satay.) If you really crave bread and butter, have it WITH your main meal, not before.
  3. Consider having broth-based soup before the meal (not heavy cream soup).  Research suggests soup may help you eat less during the meal. Be cautious if you are salt/sodium-sensitive.  Some sodium-free or low-sodium brands are Pacific Organic, Trader Joes, and Imagine Organic.
  4. If you plan to drink alcohol, eat your protein and fiber first, and sip your alcohol during your meal. Choose your drink carefully, so you do not ruin a full day of calorie control.

The above steps will help PORTION CONTROL during your meal.

  1. When eating out, if you get a chance, check out the menu ahead of time, so you can make informed decisions, and stay in your healthy calorie range. Choose a lean protein, such as skinless chicken breast or seafood,  that is grilled, baked, broiled, or blackened. Have the protein on a salad, or with double steamed vegetables on the side. A salad could include greens, fat-free feta/mozzarella cheese, 1-2 tsp. Olive oil and vinegar, and chicken.  Consider ordering a healthy appetizer as a meal, for better portion sizes (most restaurant meals have more than 1000 calories...ridiculous!)
  2. When eating at home,  keep dinner simple. Minimize your stress and “decision fatigue” with pre-planning: choose a healthy recipe ahead of time, and stock up your freezer and pantry. Select recipes that are easy go-to choices, simple to prepare,  satisfying and leave decision making out.  We have links to healthy options if you'd like - just ask! (Read more about "decision fatigue" here: http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2014/10/decision-fatigue-make-choices-easier.html )
  3. When eating out, consider sharing a meal with your partner (or bring half home), and sharing dessert, as well! When eating at home, serve your portion, then save the rest for lunch tomorrow!
  4. Dessert or night snack- use our "remove and replace" strategy, swapping healthier options in, and less healthy out. Some choices for night desserts that are sweet tasting with protein to help fullness: a frozen VHP shake, protein pudding, Enlightened bar, Yasso Bar, berries with whipped topping, or a protein hot chocolate with whipped topping.

Enjoy - don’t forget this!  Food should be fun. Our goal is not perfection, but to be “good enough”!
We are here to help! For more ideas, and customized lifestyle plans, call us any time: (603) 379-6500. Read more about our program at healthyweightcenter.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Setting Up Your Environment for Success

By Amy Buzzell, M.S. in Clinical Nutrition, B.S. in Nutrition Science

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays, along with baking foods such as appetizers, meals, and desserts for holiday parties is coming to an end, this is a great time to start off the new year with a kitchen detox! Here are some steps to conquer your kitchen and detox from all the high carb/high sat fat, “addictive foods”, to start the year off right!

1. Clear out your refrigerator, and clean out your pantry!
Clear out all of the white stuff- including breads, baked goods, desserts, mashed potatoes, cookies, candies, and sugary drinks.

2. Stock your kitchen with fruits and vegetables
If you are craving carbs of any kind (breads, cookies, desserts, etc), replace it with fruit. The vitamins, minerals, and healthy fiber in fruit can help to fill you up longer.

3. Stock up on low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
Non-fat greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, and low-fat cottage cheese are some healthy dairy foods that provide an optimal protein to carbohydrate ratio. Mix in some fruit, such as berries, pineapple, or black cherries, or add scallions to your cottage cheese, or mix a powdered ranch dressing packet (low-sodium) into plain greek yogurt for a veggie dip that is high protein and low calorie.

4. Create a motivational board
This would be a collection of pictures, phrases, and anything else that motivates you. All of the pictures should be things that motivate you or you wish to have as your best self. Collect your pictures and paste them onto a piece of paper or cardboard that you can hang somewhere that you will see often.

5. Support System
Talk with the people closest to you to let them know what your goals are. This will allow them to better help you through your journey and give you what you need during this time.

6. Food out of sight out of mind
Keep snack foods for family members in a special cabinet or have them bring them to their bedrooms or keep it in a place where you can not see it.
If you are buying childrens snacks, buy foods that you do not like, and they wont bother you being in the house.

7. Boredom activities to replace eating
Have a plan in place for when you are bored. Read a book, call a friend, go for a walk, drink a large glass of water, leave the kitchen, or knit. Having a plan in place so that you dont start thinking about food and boredom eating.

If you'd like personalized assistance setting up your healthy lifestyle, we'd love to help!  Call us any time at Physicians Healthy Weight Center, 603-379-6500, or visit our website at healthyweightcenter.com

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Protein Smoothie Recipes Sneak Peak!

We are about to roll out our new Healthy Weight at Home Natural Fast Track - we are so excited! Here is a sneak peak at some of our healthy and delicious smoothie recipes! Stay tuned for more! All will be available at our sister website: seacoastnutrition.com

Healthy Weight Smoothie Base Mix Recipes

Orange Cream Power Shake
1  packet Healthy Weight Smoothie Base Mix  
1 clementine
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp healthy oil (olive/EVOO, canola, expeller-pressed grapeseed, avocado, hemp or coconut oil)
-Mix all in blender until smooth.
Nutrition per serving:  Calories: 270,  Protein: 28.5 g, Carbs: 23, fiber: 3.5, fat: 6.1
Chocolate Peanut Butter Power Shake (with  Banana Strawberry Boost!)
1  packet Healthy Weight Smoothie Base Mix
1 tsp smooth peanut butter
2 Tbs low fat powdered peanut butter such as PB2 or Organic Just Great Stuff by Betty Lou
1 tsp cocoa powder
½ medium banana
1 packet stevia or dash of monkfruit extract to taste (or 1 tsp Stevia in the Raw)
-Mix all in blender until smooth.
Nutrition per serving:calories 260, protein: 28 g, carbs: 22.2g, fiber: 6.7 g, fat: 6.4 g
Apple Pie Creamy Shake
1  packet Healthy Weight Smoothie Base Mix
½ apple
1 tsp healthy oil (olive/EVOO, canola, expeller-pressed grapeseed, avocado, hemp or coconut oil)
1 cup water
½ cup fat-free vanilla greek yogurt
Nutrition per serving: Calories: 260, protein: 27g, carbs: 28.3g, fiber: 10.2g, fats: 6.7 g

Frozen Frosty Cappucino Shake
1 packet Healthy Weight Smoothie Base Mix
1 cup coffee, or packet of instant coffee (try Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Instant)
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp healthy fat (olive/EVOO, canola, expeller-pressed grapeseed, avocado, hemp or coconut oil)
1 packet of stevia or dash of monkfruit extract to taste
4 ice cubes
Nutrition per serving: Calories:  236, protein: 28.6 g, carbs: 18.7 g, fiber: 6.5 g, fat: 6.7 g

**Mix ingredients with hot coffee, and subtract the ice cubes to make a hot cappucino

This is just a sample of our recipes, and only a part of the new Healthy Weight at Home Natural Fast Track. Stay tuned for more!! Read more about our full program at healthyweightcenter.com, and call any time: (603) 379-6500

Saturday, January 28, 2017

High-Fiber Low-Carb Foods for Weight Loss

FIBER can help with weight loss, fullness, blood sugar control, and intestinal health.  Research has shown that “when it’s difficult to follow a complicated diet, simply increasing higher fiber foods can lead to clinically significant weight loss.”
Our goal is to add fiber without adding too many calories or too many carbohydrates for our needs. Controlling and reducing carbohydrate intake may be beneficial for maintaining blood glucose and insulin levels, particularly in those with prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, abdominal weight gain, peri-menopausal weight gain, and inflammatory conditions.
According to the Institute of Medicine, “The average adult eats around 15g of fiber each day. The general recommendation for daily fiber intake is 25-35g per day; more specifically, women need 25 g/day and men need 38 g/day”.  It is important to increase fiber slowly, because adding too much too soon can lead to cramping, constipation, gas, bloating, and discomfort. Gradually introduce additional fiber to the diet over a few weeks to avoid stomach distress.
Tips for gradually increasing fiber intake:
Choose whole fruits and vegetables, instead of juices.
Compare food labels to find higher fiber content per serving.
Drink plenty of fluids (non-caloric). Set a goal of at least 8 glasses a day to help your body process fiber.
Consider adding beano when starting to add non-starchy vegetables (beans, broccoli, cauliflower, greens).
Add fiber gradually over a period of a few weeks to avoid stomach distress.
Keep peels on fruits and vegetables (taking the peels off reduces the amount of fiber you get).
Fiber-rich foods provide benefits no matter how they are prepared, either cooked or raw.
Consider a fiber supplement:  Benefiber, Metamucil, Citrucel, Spectrafiber, etc
Non-starchy Vegetables = High Fiber + Low Carbohydrate
Choosing fresh or frozen non-starchy vegetables can help increase your fiber intake while keeping the number of carbs down. One serving of non-starchy vegetables is one cup raw or ½ cup cooked and generally contains up to 5g carbohydrates. Darker colored vegetables have the additional benefit of higher vitamin and antioxidant content. Caution: peas, corn, potatoes, rice, and winter squashes are much higher in carbohydrate and calories.

High Fiber Vegetables
Collard Greens (1 cup cooked) 4g carb, 5g fiber
Spinach and Chard (1 cup cooked) 3g carb, 4 g fiber; (Frozen 1-10 oz. package) 3g carb, 8g fiber
Broccoli (1/2 cup cooked) 1g carb, 3g fiber; (1 cup raw) 4g carb, 2g fiber
Cauliflower (1/2 cup cooked)1g carb, 2 g fiber; (1 cup raw) 2g carb, 2.5g fiber
Blackberries (1 cup, raw) 6 grams’ usable carb, 8 grams’ fiber
Asparagus (1/2 cup pieces) 2 grams’ usable carbs, 2 g fiber
Celery (1 cup chopped) 1.5 grams’ usable carb, 1.5 g fiber
Eggplant (1 cup raw) 2g fiber, 3g fiber; 1 cup cooked, 5g carb, 3g fiber
Lettuce, Romaine (1 cup shredded) .5g carb, 1g fiber
Mushrooms (1 cup raw) 1g carb, 1g fiber
Radishes (1 cup raw) 2g carb, 2g fiber
Red Raspberries (1 cup raw) 7g carb, 8g fiber
Cabbage (1 cup raw) 3g carb, 2g fiber; (1/2 cup cooked) 2g carb 1g fiber
Bell Peppers- 1 cup raw, 4g carb, 3g fiber
Snow Peas (edible pod)- 1 cup raw, 3g carb, 2g fiber
Zucchini Squash (1 cup cooked) 4g carb, 3g fiber
Strawberries (1/2 cup sliced) 5g carb, 2g fiber
Avocado (½ medium) 125 calories, 7.5g carb, 5g fiber
almonds (1 oz.) 6g protein, 5g total carbs, 3g dietary fiber… try 100-calorie packs of almonds!
walnuts (1 oz.) 4g protein, 4g carbs and 2g fiber
peanuts (1 oz.) 7g protein, 5g carbs and 2.5g fiber (for about 190 calories)
peanut butter (2 tbsp.) 7g protein, 6g carbs, 2g fiber (190 calories)
Nuts are high in fiber and protein, and many are low in carbohydrates, (but watch the calories!!)
High Fiber Cereals- Check the nutrient label carefully, but a few high fiber cereals are also low or fairly low in carbohydrate. Examples: All Bran with Extra Fiber, Fiber One
Some psyllium fiber supplements are carb-free and contain up to 15 grams of fiber per tablespoon.
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber Types
There are two different types of dietary fiber that have different effects in the body: soluble (gooey) and insoluble (dry/broom-like). Soluble is beneficial for our bodies because it attracts water, expands into a gel, and slows digestion; it is found in fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and peas. Diets high in soluble fiber can help to reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Insoluble fiber adds bulk and speeds passage of food through digestive tract. Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains. We need both types of fiber, but too much too soon is a problem, so increase gradually. Of course fiber is just one part of a healthful diet! If you would like help creating a realistic, sustainable, and enjoyable lifestyle, we'd love to assist you! Call us any time, and read more about our program here: healthyweightcenter.com (603) 379-6500
Nelms, M., Sucher, K., Lacey, K., Roth, S.(2011) Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, 2/e, Brooks/Cole Cengage learning, Belmont, CA, p 397