Want my number-one fat burner? It’s not sexy, your favorite magazine probably won’t be touting it as the weight loss “miracle” de jour, and I guarantee it won’t be the hot topic at your next dinner party.
But for fat loss and fast metabolism, it works.
Yes, fiber keeps you regular. You know that. If you’ve ever suffered constipation, you know how important consistent elimination – or in less polite terms, poops you can be proud of – can be.
But fiber’s benefits go way beyond relieving constipation. Fiber can keep you full longer, so you’re less likely to crave those mid-afternoon glazed donuts your coworker brought in.
Fiber delays stomach emptying and balances blood sugar levels. It can help you eat less at your meals. (More on that later.) It helps knock out hunger pangs when you know you won’t be eating for a few hours.
In short, fiber is your fat-loss friend.
Over the years I’ve encountered some challenging weight loss resistance cases. My secret weapon that almost always gets the scale moving for these people: fiber.
Most Americans get a sad 5 – 14 grams of fiber each day. Could there be a link between these paltry levels and increased obesity and type 2 diabetes?
I want you to get 50 grams of fiber daily. You read that correctly: 50. You’re probably scratching your head about now, wondering how you will ever meet that seemingly astronomical goal.
Fortunately, many whole, unprocessed foods come loaded with fiber. These are the top contenders.
Spinach, broccoli, and other leafy greens pack maximum fiber and nutrients with minimum calories. Working more veggies isn’t hard:
- Throw some kale or other leafy greens into your protein shake. (You won’t taste them!)
- Have a giant salad for lunch.
- Make dinner double veggies.
- Throw plenty of non-starchy veggies into a chicken broth with some lean protein, and you have a hearty soup with plenty of leftovers to freeze.
High-fiber vegetables include:
- Artichoke (1 medium) – 10 g
- Broccoli (1 cup) – 5 g
- Brussels sprouts (1 cup) – 4 g
- Kale (1 cup) – 3 g
Berries & other lower-glycemic fruits
Sure, fruit comes loaded with nutrients and fiber, but it can also satisfy your sweet tooth. On a hot summer’s day, swap the Dulce de Leche for lower-sugar, fiber-rich unsweetened So Delicious coconut yogurt and frozen raspberries.
Or top fresh berries with cinnamon and sliced almonds for a whopping 10 grams of fiber per serving.
Apples make another smart choice: smear almond butter on apple slices for a sweet, crunchy, high-fiber treat.
High-fiber fruits include:
- Raspberries (1 cup)– 8 g
- Blueberries (1 cup) – 4 g
- Apple (1 small) – 4 g
Slow-release starchy carbs
Slow-release carbs pack massive amounts of fiber to keep your blood sugar slow and steady, providing you sustained energy and fat burning.
Black beans, for instance, make an inexpensive fiber-rich side dish or added to soups.
Beans are tops, but don’t neglect other slow-release carbs like sweet potatoes and quinoa, which also pack a fiber punch.
- High-fiber starchy carbs include (all below are for 1 cup):
- Lentils – 16 g
- Garbanzo beans – 13 g
- Kidney beans – 13 g
- Quinoa – 5 g
- Sweet potato – 4 g
Who doesn’t love avocado? Well, you’re in luck: 1 cup packs a walloping 10 grams of fiber. Load some into your salad or enjoy guacamole with kale chips for a delicious fiber boost.
Nuts and seeds are also good fats that pack impressive fiber amounts. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for instance, found that nuts help people better control their weight. Be creative. Kids and adults, for instance, love pistachio-crusted chicken fingers.
Portion control is key if you snack on nuts, especially if you open a jar of almonds and a handful becomes the whole jar. If that’s a problem, portion them in little baggies and step away from the nut jar! (Ask your roommate or partner to hide them if necessary.)
High-fiber good fats include:
- Almonds (1/4 cup) – 4 g
- Flaxseed (2 tablespoons) – 4 g
- Avocado (1 cup) – 10 g
So you see, meeting your 50-gram fiber quota isn’t nearly as daunting when you incorporate high-fiber whole foods throughout your day.
For instance, start your day with a protein shake. Combine plant-based but not soy protein powder with 1 cup of raspberries, ½ cup of spinach, and 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and you’ll pack an impressive 19 grams of fiber just for breakfast. (Take that, high-fiber cereals!)
I get it: some days you do your best and still fall short. Maybe you’re traveling, for instance, or attend a dinner party where vegetables are scarce. That’s when I turn to a high-quality fiber supplement. Look for one with multiple sources of soluble and insoluble fiber.
A little trick to curb appetite and cravings: stir fiber powder into a tall glass of water about 30 minutes to one hour before meals. You’ll probably find yourself less tempted to reach for seconds. That’s why I call fiber tops for fat loss and fast metabolism!