Fibers are nutrients (more specifically carbohydrates) coming from plants that our body cannot digest. This fact makes them true friends of our health, and can help even those who want to lose weight! This, in fact, is the purpose of fiber diet .
The food plan is very flexible, and helps to improve indicators such as cholesterol , triglycerides e blood glucose However, as with any diet, it requires some care. Below, learn all about it:
What is the fiber diet?
As already explained, the fiber diet is an eating plan whose objective is the weight loss To this end, he focuses on fiber-rich foods - but lean protein and good fats are also on the menu.
A major advantage of this strategy is that it does not require major restrictions, so the menu is very flexible, even allowing moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages.
But, after all, what is dietary fiber?
Fiber is an indigestible part of vegetables - that is, it is not digested by our body. soluble which dissolve easily in water and produce a kind of gel in the intestine (facilitating the functioning of the organ); on the other hand, the insoluble which do not dissolve in water and pass intact through the gastrointestinal tract.
Consuming both forms of fiber is essential for maintaining our health, so they are usually found in vegetables and complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains), which carry both groups (in smaller or larger amounts, depending on the case).
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What are the advantages of the fiber diet?
Regulates the intestine
Fiber-rich foods are great friends of our gastrointestinal health, for a few reasons:
- Fiber increases the exposure time of some nutrients in the stomach, so that the body can better "break down" some of them. This considerably reduces discomforts such as colic, gas, and diarrhea;
- They ferment, generating substances known as short-chain fatty acids (SFA). These compounds, in turn, regulate intestinal transit in a gentle way;
- In addition, CHFAs act as protective agents for the intestinal mucosa, helping to prevent diseases such as colon cancer and intestinal inflammations;
- Finally, it is always good to remember that fiber serves as food for the good bacteria in the gut, contributing to a healthier microbiota.
Helps in the management of diabetes
A large study presented at the Middle East Cardiology Conference of the American College of Cardiology in Dubai showed that people who ate a high-fiber diet (20% to 25% more than the recommended daily intake) had a 28% reduction in fasting blood glucose.
This happens because fiber works like a kind of sponge, absorbing water from food and forming the "gel" mentioned above, which then mixes with food, capturing some of the sugars present in food. carbohydrates .
In other words, when the substance is present in the body, part of the ingested sugar is not absorbed by the body, which does not generate blood sugar spikes (especially dangerous for people with diabetes). In addition, the fiber lowers blood sugar, also helping to prevent the disease.
Because they stay longer in the stomach, do not cause blood sugar spikes, and control the speed of absorption of some nutrients by the body,
Therefore, fiber is also very important for good health: as we have already said, it is the food for these microorganisms.
Improves the immune system
The capacity of our immune system is directly linked to the amount of good bacteria present in our intestines, did you know that if the number of good bacteria decreases and the amount of bad bacteria increases, we may become more susceptible to infections and other diseases.
Some experts even claim that intestinal microbiota is responsible for about 90% of our immunity!
Therefore, fiber is also very important for iron health: as we have already said, it is the food of these microorganisms.
Helps lower cholesterol
Just as fiber makes it difficult for the body to absorb sugar, it also hinders the assimilation of fats (such as cholesterol and triglycerides) through the same mechanism.
A search from American College of Cardiology The fiber diet decreased cholesterol by an average of 9% and triglycerides by 25% in the volunteers.
Contributes to the prevention of colon cancer
They decrease the contact time of carcinogenic substances with the intestinal walls, since the "gel" acts as a protective barrier.
Read also: Protein deficiency: signals the body gives when protein is lacking
How to do the fiber diet?
The fiber diet combines lean protein with high-fiber foods and is designed to be low in calories, keep you satiated longer, and avoid feelings of deprivation. However, it is considered a low-carb diet ( low carb ), since it allows the consumption of only 20 to 130 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Thus, it gives preference to complex carbohydrates as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, rather than simple carbohydrates such as refined grains, added sugar, and highly processed foods.
Precautions and cautions
Fiber is very beneficial for us, and the most Brazilians do not consume the recommended quantity to guarantee the advantages of this nutrient.
However, the saying "too much is bad for you" is also valid in this case.
That's because excess fiber consumption can cause gastric problems, such as reduced vitamin absorption and minerals, and intestinal, for example cold .
Therefore, the ideal is to count on the help of a specialist when preparing the menu, as well as to drink a lot of water during the fiber diet - since the lack of liquids in the body can "hold" the intestines.
After all, what is the ideal amount of fiber per day?
This value can vary according to some factors, such as biological sex, age, and some possible existing conditions.
But, to put it simply, the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population The Ministry of Health (MH), talks about 25g of fiber per day for adults.
But what does this mean? 25g of fiber equals:
- Seven apples;
- 12 cups of broccoli;
- Seven and a half cups of oatmeal.
But of course you should not eat only one food (like seven apples) to reach your goal. The ideal is to distribute the consumption of fiber throughout the day, with different sources of the nutrient (fruits, vegetables, leaves, whole grains, and seeds, for example).
Does the fiber diet lose weight?
Because it emphasizes eating healthy whole foods that are minimally processed, the food plan can support a weight loss journey.
Likewise, the recommended foods are rich in fiber, a nutrient known to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. In this way, fiber is digested slowly, keeping you satiated longer between meals.
With that, decades of research have found a link between eating more fiber and losing weight, even preventing obesity and related chronic diseases.
But of course it is not as simple as it seems, because weight loss goes beyond just consuming fiber: you need to achieve the so-called caloric deficit - Thus, other habits, such as drinking water, sleeping on time, exercising, and stress control, are also essential for the goal.
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Suggested menu for the fiber diet
1 cup (200 ml) rice milk mixed with 1 col (dessert) cocoa powder + 1/2 cup (200 ml) papaya with 1 col (soup) of fiber mix.
- Morning snack
1 cup (200 ml) coconut water + 4 raw almonds.
Green salad (arugula, lettuce, watercress) at will with 1 tablespoon of diced pineapple, 1 tablespoon of fiber mix, 2 tablespoons of brown rice with lentils + 1 fish filet (trout or salmon) baked with passion fruit sauce.
- Afternoon snack
1 cup of fruit salad with fiber mix or mix of nuts (1 Brazil nut, 3 cashew nuts and 2 chopped walnuts).
Complete salad: lettuce, 1/2 can of light tuna, 1 teaspoon of boiled whole wheat noodles, 1/2 chopped tomato, 1 tablespoon of corn, 1 tablespoon of grated carrot and chopped parsley (season with 1 dash of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt).
Other fiber-rich foods to include in the diet
- Artichoke: 5g fiber in 100g artichokes;
- Lentil: 8g of fiber in 100g of the food;
- Black beans: 15g of fiber in just one cup!
- Raspberry: One cup of the fruit contains 8g of fiber;
- Chickpeas: 6g of fiber in 100g of the food;
- Pera: one unit carries 2.5g of fiber;
- Avocado: A tablespoon has 2g of fiber, while the whole fruit has 10g;
- Blackberry: 100g of the food concentrates 5g of fiber;
- Peanut: 9g of fiber in 100g of peanuts.
How to increase fiber intake on a daily basis?
Check out some tips below:
- Eat more vegetables: Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, greens, whole grains, seeds, and others. To increase the consumption of fiber in the diet, it is enough to eat more vegetables. The ideal would be to eat at least 400g per day;
- Improve recipes: If you are going to prepare white rice, how about adding some grated carrots to it, or chop some broccoli and green beans on your meat sticks!
- Invest in legumes: White, black, carioca, and green beans, as well as chickpeas, lentils, and peas;
- Substitute refined carbohydrates: exchange bread made with white wheat flour for the whole wheat product. whenever possible, add oatmeal, bran, chia, or flaxseed in salads or fruits;
- Drink water: Otherwise, you may suffer from constipation;
- Take it easy: It doesn't have to be radical, you can adapt to it little by little.
Click here and learn more
Click here and learn more
- ANAD, High-Fiber Diet;
- Consumption of dietary fiber by Brazilians is lower than that indicated by the WHO;
- PAHO, Healthy Eating;
- Ministério da Saúde, Guia Alimentar para a População Brasileira.