A favorite friend accused me of holding out. “If you were a good friend, you would give me a simple diet.” I’d prefer to not talk diets with my friends; love them just the way they are – really do. But she had just thrown out a challenge, and I had to respond…if I was a good friend. So I mentioned the study in the news this past week where one group followed the American Heart Association diet (not a simple diet there) while another group were simply asked to eat 30 g of fiber a day. Fast forward one year. Both groups lost weight and improved their blood pressure readings. Both groups were also found to be more responsive to insulin, an important factor for avoiding diabetes and obesity. If both groups had success, you might ask….what’s the big deal? Well, counting grams of fiber is a simple sustainable thing to do, like it could become a habit! And as people focus on fiber, they will find themselves eating more vegetables, more fruit, more beans, more whole grains – the best of all foods, which will leave them feeling full – that’s fiber’s job, actually. Fiber absorbs fluid and feels heavy, leading to a full and satisfied feeling (less drawn to the refrigerator.). And all those high fiber foods I mentioned also happen to be nutrient dense power foods! And that’s the kind of secrets good friends share.
The group mentioned above were shooting for 30 g of fiber a day. That’s about two times what the average American eats. So friend here’s a secret for you.
25 Foods with more fiber than a slice of whole wheat bread:
split peas – 16.3 g per 1 cup, cooked
lentils – 15.6 g per 1 cup, cooked
black beans – 15 g per 1 c, cookedseed
lima beans – 13.2 g per 1 cup, cooked
whole wheat pasta 6 g per 1 cup, cookepearl barley – 6 g per 1 cup, cooked
oatmeal 4 g per 1 cup, cooked
flax seed meal – 3.8 g per 2 Tablespoon portion
chia seeds – 5.5 g per 1 Tablespoon
avocado – 6.7 g per 1/2 avocado, raw
raspberries – 8 g per 1 cup, raw
blackberries – 7.6 g per 1 cup, raw
pears – 5.5 g per medium fruit
kiwi – 2.1 g per 2″ diameter kiwi
banana-3.9 g per 1 cup, sliced
apple – 4.4 g per medium apple
peas – 8.8 g per 1 cup, cooked
artichoke – 10.3 g per medium artichoke
brussel sprouts – 5,1 g per 1 cup, cooked
sweet potatoes – 3.8 g per 1 medium sweet potato
carrots – 3.4 g per 1 cup carrot strips
asparagus – 3.6 g per 1 cup, cooked
wheat berries – 6 g per 1 cup, cooked
brown rice – 3.5 g per 1 cup, cooked
quinoa – 5.2 g per 1 cup, cooke
heart of palm – 2.4 g per 1 cup, canned
I didn’t include dried fruits (which are good sources of fiber) since they are calorically so dense I wouldn’t want to include them in a discussion about fiber leading to weight loss. I also left out processed foods that can be high in fiber (think foods like fiber bars, high fiber cereals, fiber supplements, etc) because I believe in the power of whole foods!
Source: USDA nutrient database
Disclaimer – A good friend would also caution – increase fiber intake slowly to avoid intestinal discomfort (and all that goes with that) and always drink plenty of water so fiber can do its job.