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The One Basic Diet Change for Everyone Thin and Fat

Tim Boyer's picture
Diet change recommended by heath experts for all Americans

If you were to make ONE basic diet change, do you know what it should be? Here is what health experts agree on.


Last year a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that making one basic diet change could do almost as much for dieters as undergoing a complicated multicomponent diet recommended by the American Heart Association. That basic diet change? “More fiber,” said the researchers, which was more recently echoed by Registered Dietician and founder of Nutritious Life, Keri Glassman for NBC’s Today who writes that fiber is the one basic diet change that may be all you need to be healthier at any age.

According to Ms. Glassman, fiber comes in two types—soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber is the one that soaks up water and slows the process of digestion to help your body absorb nutrients. The benefit of this is that it leaves you feeling fuller longer than non-fiber foods.

Insoluble fiber is the one that speeds up the rate at which foods go through the body and gives your waste more body to it for healthy elimination. The benefits of insoluble fiber are that it reduces the risk of colon cancer, prevents constipation and can help lose or maintain weight.

As it turns out, we need both types whether we are fat and looking to lose weight or thin and concerned more about overall good digestive health.

The problem though is that on average Americans eat only about 15 grams of fiber a day, whereas the American Heart Association Eating Plan recommends 25-30 grams daily from a wide range of sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole beans. Ms. Glassman puts it more precisely by writing that men need about 30 to 38 grams per day, whereas women need about 21 to 25 grams. But she also hints that people should not get hung up on the number and get your fiber count from labeled foods; but rather, focus more on getting, “… your fiber from healthy foods without labels such as fruits such as apples, pears, berries and oranges and veggies such as broccoli rabe, red peppers and sweet potato.”

Here are Ms. Glassman’s 5 Recommended Ways to Get Your Fiber On

1. Craving crunch? Skip the chips and grab jicama, carrots, or peppers or go for nuts or seeds; just don't go too nuts! Stick to about 1 ounce as the calories in nuts can add up quickly.

2. Get grainy! A simple switch from "white carbs" to whole grains will increase your daily intake of fiber. Switch from white bread to whole grain bread, white pasta to whole wheat, shoot for brown rice in place of white rice, or take it up another notch and try spelt, farro or wheat berries.

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3. An apple a day, does what? Keeps the constipation away. Apples are a great source of fiber, as are pears and figs. That's right, simply adding more produce to your diet is a great way to up your fiber intake. Be sure to get in whole fruits and veggies even if you are a juicer because remember most of the fiber is in the skin.

4. Snap, crackle, POP. Instead of reaching for a bag of pretzels when a snack craving hits, opt for some air-popped popcorn instead, another great source of fiber. I love to top mine with cinnamon or cayenne. YUM.

5. Beans, beans, they're good for your…
We can all learn a little something from the old, playful rhyme! Beans, peas, and lentils all have an impressive batch of fiber, despite their, ahem, gaseous side effects. Try a bowl of bean soup with a side salad for lunch.

More Fiber Recommendations

Here’s some additional health expert advice on how you can naturally increase your fiber intake by sneaking in a little fiber at time by adding these following fiber stuffers into each meal:

Fiber Stuffer #1: Chia Seeds―at 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, it’s one of the most fiber-filled foods you can spoon onto your meals and not even know that it’s there doing its job for added weight loss. You can add it to the batter in cookies when baking; or, use it as a thickening agent in your next weight loss smoothie.

Fiber Stuffer #2: Flaxseed Meal―providing about 3.8 grams of fiber in two-tablespoon servings, flaxseed meal is another easy-to-hide fiber in both your baked goods like muffins or pancakes, or even in fish breading for a low-fat, low-calorie meal while dieting and getting in some extra omega-3 fatty acids. It can also be sprinkled directly into your morning bowl of oatmeal or mixed in with a small container of your favorite yogurt.

Fiber Stuffer #3: Grated Carrots―a great source of Vitamin A, carrots also provide a fair amount of fiber that can be hidden in any number of ways such as mixing it into banana bread dough or even pizza dough before baking.

Fiber Stuffer #4: Pureed Vegetables―again, not quite as high in fiber for its mass as chia seeds or flaxseed meal, but pureed vegetables do provide additional nutrients along with natural fiber. One tasty recommendation is to beef up your store-bought pasta sauces with some added pureed spinach, squash and/or cauliflower while heating the sauce in a pot before serving.

Fiber Stuffer #5: High-Fiber Crackers—one of Dr. Oz’s favorites for preventing overeating at a party, high-fiber crackers also work great as a healthy snack to munch on while on the go, or as a way to feel fuller before dining at a party. Dr. Oz recommends having a 6-gram, high-fiber cracker with a glass of water to help slow down the absorption of fat before a rich meal.

For more about why fiber is such a good idea for making that one basic diet change, here is a recent informative fiber article that you should see―Do this one thing to lose weight even if you do nothing else.

Reference: NBC TodayOne basic diet change may be all you need to be healthier at any age