Fiber for Weight Loss and Good HealthApril 7, 2021
Is fiber for weight loss and good health really true? YES! Let's find out how and why.
The Ways Fiber Is Good For Us
Fiber should be on everyone’s daily to-do list! Fiber for weight loss supports weight loss/maintenance, gut flora, and a healthy body. In general terms, it works by creating a feeling of fullness and maintains a healthy digestive tract.
All fiber is plant-based, found in grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Fiber does not contribute much, if any, calories to the body and is not broken down by our digestive enzymes or absorbed in the small intestines.
These foods can contain many different fibers, however, here we will discuss benefits of dietary fiber that have very different roles that promote many benefits that contribute to a healthy body.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber, What’s The Difference?
Soluble fiber – found in foods like oatmeal and legumes. This fiber mixes with fluids and creates a gel-like substance. In this form, fiber will be digested (fermented) by the colon bacteria which contributes to a healthy balance of our gut flora. Specifically, this fiber contributes to a healthy heart, colon, and metabolism.
Insoluble fiber – found in bran and vegetables. In contrast, this type of fiber will not mix with water and creates a “brushing” mechanism. This is found to aid in prevention of constipation which could potentially prevent complications such as diverticulosis and hemorrhoids. Insoluble fiber can also be referred to as functional fiber.
RDA: men 38 grams and women 25 grams OR 14 grams every 1000 calories daily. – www.eatright.org
How Does This Help With Our Weight?
There are many benefits to eating food with fiber.
- Since fiber gives you a feeling of fullness, this can help with appetite control as you are not left feeling hungry.
- Soluble fiber can slow the transit time of foods reaching the intestines which delays the absorption of some nutrients, in turn, reducing the number of calories absorbed.
- Insoluble fiber facilitates in waste removal by speeding up the passage through the digestive tract and bulking up stool in the colon.
- Feeds the good bacteria via fermentation which can maintain a healthy colon.
- Aids in digestion by regulating how slow or fast food passes through the digestive system.
- Dietary fibers are found in low-glycemic foods which tend to be lower in sugar and fat which contribute to maintaining steady blood sugars.
- Prevents consuming high-calorie foods at the next meal due to satiety from a previous meal or snack and blood sugar regularity.
Fiber and Weight Loss Surgery Patients
High protein diets can lead to constipation, so fiber with plenty of fluids can work to prevent this.
Protein supplements may already have fiber as an ingredient, so check the nutrition label to verify.
Individual fiber recommendations or supplements may be suggested by your surgeon/dietitian so contact the office for individual intake requirements.
Once you are on solid foods, consume those rich in fiber in small increments over several weeks before reaching your goal, especially if you are not used to consuming fibrous foods. This can lead to cramping, blockages, and constipation. Drink plenty of water, eat watery foods, and exercise to help keep the gastrointestinal tract moving! Otherwise, you could find yourself in a “bind”!
Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery
Some research has shown consuming 15 grams of soluble fiber, consuming foods with a low-glycemic index and daily exercise can deter weight gain and/or help lose weight you have gained. 
Examples of Good Sources of Fiber
|Beans, black||½ cup||7.5|
|Beans, pinto||½ cup||7.7|
|Cereal, high fiber, bran||½ cup||4-9|
|Chickpeas, canned||½ cup||5.3|
|Mixed vegetables, frozen||½ cup||4|
|Peas, split||½ cup||8.2|
|Potato, baked with skin||1 medium||4.4|
|Potato, sweet, baked with skin||1 medium||4.8|
Supplements That Are Potentially Helpful in a Diet Low in Fiber
Guar Gum, Pectin, and Glucomannan. Recommended to be taken with meals, 500 mg each**. 
**Like any other medication or herb, these supplements could have side effects or interact with other medications. Also, consuming too much could lead to harmful complications, so please contact your surgeon or dietitian for recommendations first before trying them.
1. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/easy-ways-to-boost-fiber-in-your-daily-diet#:~:text=Fiber%20is%20an%20essential%20nutrient,in%20a%20number%20of%20ways. Accessed Jan 5, 2021
ABOUT THE AUTHORRebecca Luttrell is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist from the north Fort Worth area. She became interested in bariatrics in doing intensive dietetic internship rotations. This exposed her to bariatrics both in the clinical and nutrition counseling settings. She joined the My Bariatric Solutions team in May 2017 and her favorite part of being there is appreciating and supporting the population of people they serve. Read more articles by Rebecca!