Boosters for weight loss: part two
If I had only one chance to give one piece of advice to people on how to adopt a
healthy lifestyle and lose weight, this would be it:
Fibre has one of the most dramatic effects in our bodies — simply eating more fibre
will help us to lose weight. In various studies, eating the recommended daily intake
of fibre resulted in people dropping their daily calorie intake by 10%. The
recommended daily allowance is 30 grams.
Fibre cannot be absorbed by our bodies, so it stays in our intestines to bulk out our
stools. However, most of the cells in our body are in fact bacteria — our ‘good’ gut
bacteria digest fibre and thrive on it (sadly there are bad guys too — because we
feed our bugs too much CRAP (calorie rich and processed) food. The good bacteria
produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are absorbed into our blood and have
beneficial effects on our immune function, reducing inflammation, improving mental
health; plus they have a key role in regulating appetite, metabolism, and body fat.
Fewer calories eaten
Dozens of studies have proven an increased consumption of fibre is linked with
weight loss. The process appears to be that the more fibre we eat, the less food we
Fewer calories absorbed
Our bodies can only absorb nutrients when they come into contact with our intestinal
wall — so fibre, which itself does not get absorbed, can act as a carrier to eliminate
calories at the other end. Fats and starch bond with the fibre and are expelled!
Short chain fatty acids
SCFAs stimulate the production of the satiety hormone leptin. Fibre also suppresses
the hunger hormone ghrelin. Studies have shown that eating fibre-rich foods will help
curb cravings. In trials where participants increased their fibre intake their metabolic
rate increased, and also their capacity to burn fat.
Interestingly, in studies involving eating fibre supplements against placebos, or eating
real food fibre, the real food fibre performed significantly better. I could write for
hours about the outcomes of various trials comparing eating different regimes of fibre
and following combinations of other interventions, but I won’t! I will get to the point
and give you the best advice researchers have established: just telling people to up
their fibre content through eating more whole plant-based foods seems to crowd out
eating the other stuff by default. The message: eat more fibre!
Whilst my focus here is about fibre and weight loss, I should point out that there are
many benefits to eating fibre that go way beyond weight loss. I won’t go into detail
but will list some of them... I am bound to miss something out.
Fibre is good for
Digestive health — it normalises stools, and may also play a role in preventing
haemorrhoids, gallstones, IBS and GERD.
Diabetes — it slows the absorption of sugar, thus improving blood sugar levels.
Cancer — some research suggests that eating a high fibre diet may prevent some
common digestive-tract cancers.
Skin health — eating fibre helps eliminate toxins from your body, improving skin
health and appearance.
Heart health — eating a high fibre diet can reduce LDL cholesterol and improve
levels of HDL and also lower blood pressure
Fibre stars: beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruit.
Check out the internet for high-fibre recipes.