What is Fiber? Dietary fiber is plant material that humans can’t digest; it’s not absorbed into the bloodstream to be used as energy, so nearly 100% of it reaches the colon. That’s why a major benefit of eating more fiber is that so many high-fiber foods are low in calories. (Plus, the fiber and weight loss connection is incredible!)
Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber
Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact.
As you consume more and increase the benefits of fiber, target a ratio of approximately 70% insoluble fiber to 30% soluble fiber.
Insoluble Fiber Benefits & Sources
Insoluble fiber has positive effects on constipation and digestive health, as it facilitates the movement of toxic substances through the colon in less time. To increase insoluble fiber, enjoy foods like whole wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, and apple peels.
Soluble Fiber Benefits & Sources
Soluble fiber has the ability to form a gel when it’s mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Soluble fiber is primarily responsible for lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the so-called “bad” kind), therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. It is also credited with regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes. To increase soluble fiber, enjoy more fiber rich foods like oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apple pulp.
Fiber and Weight Loss
Add more fiber to your diet. Increase fiber benefits by eating plenty of high-fiber plant based whole foods, consuming 14-16 grams fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed, or about 30 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet. Increasing fiber is the single most important factor in the [seemingly magical] fiber and weight loss connection.
The Gene Smart Anti Inflammatory Diet & Exercise Program classifies fiber as a bioactive because it meets the definition of something that influences cellular activities to modify disease risk, rather than preventing deficiency diseases. Please note that it is not a nutrient in a classical sense, which is to say that it isn’t essential for life—a fundamental criterion for a nutrient.
Every single person who participated in our study of the Gene Smart Anti Inflammatory Diet & Exercise Program will tell you that the single most important key to losing weight without hunger is the principle: Increase Fiber.
There’s something almost magical about dietary fiber and weight loss—although the results are no illusion. Studies confirm a direct relationship between the amount of fiber you eat and the number of pounds you lose.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Along the way, as you increase the benefits of fiber by eating more high fiber foods, you’ll be reaping all of the rewards that come from following a high fiber, protein-rich diet—you know, little things like lots more energy and lower disease risk.
In fact, losing weight this way is sure to have a profound effect on your health because it will have a profound effect on your inflammatory profile. Remember, the more body fat you have, the more inflammation you have.
As you begin to increase fiber intake by eating more fiber rich foods, replace low fiber choices with foods that are high in fiber benefits throughout the day. For most, breakfast offers a great opportunity to start the day with plenty of options to add more fiber rich foods.
High Fiber Foods
You can add more fiber by replacing low fiber cereal with high fiber choices, trading whole wheat bread instead of low fiber white bread, and consuming more fiber rich fruits. Look for opportunities to increase fiber by enjoying high fiber foods throughout the day. We’ve created a handy high fiber foods guide to help you identify more fiber rich foods that will increase fiber benefits each day.
On Gene Smart, you’ll get plenty of both kinds of fiber each day. In fact, you’ll get not only the correct amount of fiber, but what is considered an optimal ratio of insoluble to soluble (approximately 70/30).
What About Fiber Supplements?
Fiber supplements are widely available, but we encourage you to get your fiber from eating more fiber rich whole foods whenever possible to maximize the benefits of fiber intake.