Dietary fibre is the ultimate diet food. It's also one of the most useful nutrients known to mankind. These indigestible components which are found in foods of plant origin, also help digestion (and prevent constipation), lower high blood fat levels, and improve blood glucose control.
- foods with a high dietary fibre content produce a feeling of fullness or satiety for longer than foods that have had most of their dietary fibre content processed out
- a high fibre content reduces the amount of energy foods contain, because it's indigestible - you absorb no energy from it
- dietary fibre takes up water and swells in the digestive tract, thus promoting bowel movements in a natural way to prevent constipation, which often occurs when you use slimming diets
- high-fibre foods take the place of high-fat or high-GI foods and have to be chewed for longer before they can be swallowed. This helps slimmers to feel less deprived.
How you can use dietary fibre for slimming
Unless there is something else at work in your body's make-up, the starting point if you want to lose weight, is to reduce your energy intake and increase your energy expenditure with exercise. The quickest way to achieve energy reduction, is to eat less fat, because 1g of dietary fat supplies 37kJ of energy compared to 17kJ per gram for protein and carbohydrates.
- Hi-Fibre Bran and All Bran cereals, fruit and bran cereals, muesli, rye bread, sweet potato, wholewheat pasta, figs, oranges, grapefruit, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut, green beans, brinjal, bananas, cooked beans, lentils and split peas, nuts (should be eaten in smaller quantities when slimming), samp and beans.
- The following foods supply between 1 and 3g of dietary fibre per serving, but are also very useful in slimming diets because they are generally eaten in larger quantities: wholewheat bread, oats porridge, wholewheat and brown bread, potatoes, wheat biscuits (use low-fat variety), carrots, spinach, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower.
Start the day with Hi-Fibre Bran cereal plus low-fat milk, a slice of wholewheat toast with a scraping of Lite margarine, and an orange (19g fibre).
Make a lunch-pack of an apple, carrot salad, 2 slices wholewheat bread with a scraping of lite margarine and low-fat cottage cheese, a hard boiled egg, or lean meat or fish, or have baked beans on wholewheat toast (11-21g of dietary fibre - 21g if you have the baked beans on toast!).
Serve lean meat or fish prepared without added fat with a selection of high-fibre vegetables and salads (17g dietary fibre).