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Six fiber-rich foods for weight loss
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Six fiber-rich foods for weight loss

Including and increasing the quantity of fiber-rich foods in your diet can result in weight loss and keep metabolic disorders at bay.

High-fiber foods help in weight loss by promoting the feelings of fullness, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting a healthy digestive system.

The overconsumption of simple and refined carbohydrates is one of the main dietary reasons for weight gain, especially in major Asian countries, including India. Instead, one’s diet should comprise ample portions of calorie-deficient foods, along with proteins and healthy fats. Having sufficient fiber and proteins on your platter is key to almost all weight loss diets across the world.

Can fiber-rich food help in weight loss?

According to Dr Mahesh DM, consultant, Endocrinology, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, eating high-fiber foods aid in weight loss because they slow digestion, stabilize blood sugar levels, and reduce unhealthy food cravings. Moreover, fiber supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, improves gut health, and can reduce the absorption of fat and calories.

Delhi-based clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla shares that WHO recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) per day to prevent chronic diseases and alleviate several micronutrient deficiencies. “Fiber is important for digestion and nutrient absorption,” she adds. Delhi-based dietitian Avni Kaul adds that fiber-rich food supports healthy metabolism, making them the perfect addition to weight loss diets.

Six fiber-rich foods for weight loss

1. Whole grains 

Most health experts emphasize switching to whole grains from refined flour. This is because whole grains and millets have all three parts — the germ (nutrient-rich part), the bran ( outer fiber-rich part) and the endosperm (middle layer containing starch and protein), while refined grains include only endosperm. Dr Mahesh recommends whole grains like millet, brown rice, quinoa, oats and whole wheat, which are good sources of fiber and nutrients.

Kaul explains these grains are valuable additions to a weight loss diet as the fiber content in them helps slow digestion, stops rapid blood sugar spikes and keeps hunger in check.

2. Vegetables

Khosla explains that vegetables are a great addition to a weight loss diet because they are low in calories while being high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Dr Mahesh says that leafy greens and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and bell peppers are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which make a valuable addition to one’s diet.

“Vegetables are also loaded with phytonutrients (chemical compounds produced by plans) that can help lower cholesterol and also fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress to your body,” says Khosla. She shares that phytonutrients have been linked to obesity management because adiposity or accumulation of body fat is closely related to biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. “A diet rich in vegetables can modify these metabolic biomarkers,” she explains. 

3. Fiber- and protein-rich fruits

Kaul says fibrous fruits like apples, berries including raspberries and blackberries, and pears are well-suited for weight loss. While fruits contain natural sugars, their fiber content mitigates rapid sugar spikes. Experts recommend portion control for effective weight management. Dr Mahesh suggests eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices as this adds more fiber to your diet. He says that adding citrus fruits rich in Vitamin C also aid in weight loss by boosting your metabolism 

4. Dal, beans and legumes 

Incorporating a variety of beans and lentils adds fiber, protein and a range of nutrients to your diet while supporting calorie control. “Beans and legumes are low in fat and calories and allow for a steady release of energy,” explains Kaul. For weight loss, one can add black beans, kidney beans and green or brown lentils to their diet. A  variety of peas and sprouts that are high in protein and fiber, and low in fat are also beneficial.

5. Nuts and seeds 

 Dr Mahesh explains nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds have good fats, plenty of fiber and essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. For maximum benefit, these can be consumed in their natural form. “People on a weight loss journey can enjoy the crunch and flavor of the seeds, which adds interesting texture to the food while satiating their taste buds. Hence, they do not overeat or pick the wrong foods to munch on,” explains Kaul.

6. Fiber-rich snacks instead of processed food

Kaul suggests snacking on ingredients like popcorn and makhana (fox nuts), which make for crunchy and fibrous snacks, instead of processed and packaged ones. “However, be careful and avoid loading these with butter, salt or sugar while preparing them,” she cautions. 

You can also snack on sprouts and raw vegetables like carrots and cucumbers with healthy dips.  Whole fruits, nuts and seeds are rich in fiber and make for filling snacks if had in moderation. Making healthy choices is key to a balanced diet that helps in losing weight.

Always add fiber to the diet with caution

Kaul explains that one can add fibrous foods gradually to your diet to let your digestive system adapt to the change. An important tip is to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation. She cautions that excessive fiber intake can lead to bloating, gas and digestive discomfort. “Balance and moderation help avoid potential side effects of excess fiber,” she adds. Dr Mahesh suggests consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for specific concerns.

Takeaways

  • High-fiber foods help in weight loss by promoting the feelings of fullness, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting a healthy digestive system.
  • Natural ingredients like whole grains, beans and legumes and certain fruits, vegetables and nuts can be included in a balanced diet for weight loss.
  • People consuming extra fiber should also drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

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