Calories, Protein, Carbs, Fat. When thinking about dieting, losing body fat and gaining muscle, these are the four parameters our minds tend to drift to. But there is another which one of my clients reminded me of the other day: increasing your fibre intake.
What is Fibre?
Fibre comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble. The soluble kind is found in foods like oats, fruit, root vegetables and some seeds. Insoluble passes straight through you, and you get it from wholemeal and whole-grain products, bran, vegetables and nuts. Soluble fibre may contribute to your heart health, whereas the insoluble stuff adds bulk to faeces as aids with food passing through you.
While that might not be a topic of conversation for the dinner party table, it’s important to know why you need fibre.
What is It Good For?
Aside from the above heart health and digestive benefits, fibre has plenty of critical roles to play.
A higher fibre intake is linked with helping to reduce your risk of many diseases known to modern day society – cancer, heart disease, arteriosclerosis, IBS … you name it, eating more fibre will likely help you avoid these..
From a dieting standpoint, it’s seriously important too. Due to the role it plays in digestion, eating fibre helps keep you feeling full and satiated, which is crucial when dieting and your calories and carbs are reduced.
Look at it like this – you could get 50 grams of carbs from a bowl of sugary cereal, or you could get 50 grams of carbs from broccoli, carrots and peas – which is going to keep you fuller? The veggies of course! That fibre helps slows digestion, adds bulk to food and helps fill you up. One final benefit (just in case you needed any more) is that foods that are higher in fibre may also be higher in nutrients in general.
All those high fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, contain a huge array of vitamins and minerals and other “good stuff.”
The National Health and Medical Research Council suggests that women shoot for around 25 grams per day, while men need 30 grams per day.
To finish up, let’s talk fibre-rich foods.
All kinds of whole grains
Veggies (any are good, but green beans, sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and similar get particularly reputable mentions.)
All kinds of beans and legumes – kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and so on.
Getting fibre into your diet doesn’t need to be hard, and actually ramping up your fibre intake is a sure-fire way to get you feeling fuller and keep you on track for dieting success.
So while it might be fun to eat a few cookies from time to time, more often than not it's the healthier stuff that's going to do a better job at keeping you fuller for longer, and staying on track when it comes to eating at a deficit.
So choose wisely & make intelligent decisions when it comes to tracking your macros and increasing your fibre intake.