Fibre! Come on, get your mind out of the gutter (although I have been known to use the other F word a bit too frequently). Fibre could be one of the most important things in your diet for long term weight management and health.
The basic answer is that fibre makes you feel fuller and you are less inclined to overeat. But the actual benefit if eating more fibre could run a lot deeper than that. A study in the US looked a group of pre-diabetic people (whose blood sugar is abnormally high but not yet at diabetes level) and assigned two different diets (but no exercise). One was a traditional diet with a reduction in calories and saturated fats and the other was no change but simply adding in 30g of fibre per day from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. After a year, BOTH diets lost the SAME amount of weight, both groups improved their cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Which is an impressive result when you consider one diet was restricted intact and the other diet added more food.
So what is the best fibre for you? There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves into a gel form and helps to slow digestion, this is the form that helps you feel fuller for longer.
Insoluble fibre is the stuff that adds bulk to your stool and help move waste through your digestive tract, like a sweep.
It is best to go for foods with BOTH on these fibres. Grains might be high in insoluble fibre, but they can also promote insulin. But fruits and vegetables are the key as they naturally contain both types of fibre. Here are the best ones to chose:
- Psylium Husk/chia seeds
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Root vegetables like onion and sweet potatoes
- Peas and green beans
Why not whip up a delicious chia pudding with coconut milk and either add cacao powder or top with berries and fulfil your afternoon snack craving and your daily fibre requirements in one go?!