Tuesday, June 2, 2015

High Fiber, Low Carb Foods for Weight Loss- add Fiber Without Too Many Calories!

High-Fiber, Low-Carb Foods for Weight Loss
by Amy Buzzell with Dr. Jennifer Warren, MD

FIBER can help with weight loss, fullness, blood sugar control, and intestinal health. As Dr. Warren mentioned in her blog on Fiber and Weight Loss, “when it's difficult to follow a complicated diet, simply increasing higher fiber foods can lead to clinically significant weight loss.”  http://healthyweightcenter.blogspot.com/2015/02/fiber-and-weight-loss-new-research.html
Our goal is to add fiber without adding too many calories or too many carbohydrates for our needs. Reducing excess carbohydrate can be beneficial for maintaining blood glucose and insulin levels, particularly for those with abdominal weight gain ("belly fat"), prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, peri-menopausal weight gain, among others. At the end of the article we've included a list of the best delicious high-fiber, lower carb (and lower calorie) foods.

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.  

“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 25g/day and men need 38g/day”, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is important to increase fiber slowly, because too much, too soon can be a problem!  Adding a lot of fiber too quickly can cause stomach distress, constipation, gas, cramps, 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 FRESH 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 you body process fiber.
Consider adding beano when starting to add non-starchy vegetables (beans, broccoli, caulflower, 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. 
Try a fiber supplement:  Benefiber, Metamucil, Citrucel, other fibers (glucomannon), etc.  

Non-starchy Vegetables = High Fiber + Low Carbohydrate
Choosing fresh, 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 additional benefit of higher vitamin and antioxidant content. Peas, corn, potatoes, rice, and winter squashes are much higher in carbohydrates 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.

If you would like help designing a healthy, sustainable high-fiber diet, and adding this to part of your comprehensive healthy lifestyle, we can help.  We are available to help in-person, 1:1, and via our new Virtual Visits (via phone, email,  or skype) as well. (603) 379-6500 http://www.physicianshealthyweightcenter.com


Nelms, M., Sucher, K., Lacey, K., Roth, S.(2011) Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, 2/e, Brooks/Cole Cengage learning, Belmont, CA, p 397

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