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You know the deal, dropping weight is the result of a sound diet and sweat-drenching workouts. That said, certain foods pack a punch in the diet arena. Enter: fiber, an indigestible complex carb that staves off hunger while hitting the body with numerous health benefits.
Falling into your carb macros, there are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming into a gel in the stomach. The gel-like substance that’s produced slows down the rate at which food moves from your stomach to small intestine. Oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils and fruit contain this healthful version. When you cook oatmeal, it becomes gooey — that’s the presence of soluble fiber. As for insoluble fiber does the complete opposite — moving straight through the GI tract, which supports regular bowl movements. Food items for this form include anything wheat and whole-wheat, whole grain, legumes and vegetables.
Fiber won’t just assist in losing weight. Studies have shown that incorporating fiber into your daily diet can prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol, specifically soluble fiber. When it comes to lowering cholesterol, fiber influences the rate of fat absorption — reducing the amount of fat that’s present in the blood. An interesting muscle-building component is that fiber lowers blood glucose levels — preventing your muscles from feeding off of excess sugar. Tip: keep high fiber foods away from your post-workout meal because it’s the only time during the day that you want an insulin spike. Higher insulin levels post-workout help make for greater muscle gains.
When you’re trying to make your protein gains for the day, fiber can prevent any unwanted protein gas. Protein takes awhile to break down in your body, producing a thermic effect. When protein gets broken down, nitrogen is what’s remaining. A positive nitrogen balance in the body means only one thing: gas. Also, following a low-carb diet mixed in with a ton of protein when cutting will only create constipation.
Now that you’re aware of fiber’s benefits, how much should you be consuming of it daily? The national recommendations are 30 to 38 grams a day for men under the age of 50 and 25 grams a day for women under the age of 50. A general guideline to follow is to consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories ingested. The key to eating fibrous foods during the day is to space it out, having a high fiber food with each muscle-building meal.