It is a goal for most of us to look fit and healthy, but actually trying and working for it is a whole different story. Yes, losing weight is not easy and that is also why most people tend to give up after just a few days of getting into it. That said, what most people often overlook is the fact that weight loss does not necessarily have to be a complicated task or journey. In fact, it just might be as simple as incorporating more of one particular nutrient into your diet. If you haven’t already figured out from the title, yes, that specific nutrient is none other than Fibre.
In this article, we explore the many ways dietary fibre plays a role in weight loss so read on to know more about fibre and its incredible weight loss benefits.
Fibre and Weight Loss
As far as weight loss is concerned, the one thing you need is fibre in your diet. Besides regularly exercising and staying active, it is our diet that contributes to much of what we lose or gain as far as managing weight is concerned. That is why a healthy diet rich in fibre can be a great tool for weight loss. You might be wondering how this all come about. Well, according to studies, it has been suggested that fibre can be a great “satiator”, which means it can efficiently help suppress appetite and hunger. It helps fill you up quicker and keeps you fuller for a longer period by slowing down the digestion process and also by allowing food to enter your bloodstream at a slower rate. Hence, fibre is the true king of weight loss. In fact, some research even suggested that consuming more fibre is the key to effective weight loss, even if you do not adopt or make any other changes to your diet or reduce calories.
With that being said, let us first understand the different types of fibre.
Types of Fiber
Fibre can be categorized into two types: soluble and insoluble, both of which are known to play significant roles in weight loss.
- Soluble fibre, as the name suggests, dissolves in water. And being soluble, it mixes with water in the digestive tract and forms a gel, which is beneficial to help keep your stool soft and slow down the digestive process. Soluble fibre also acts as a prebiotic, which means that it provides nutrients to gut bacteria via a process called fermentation. Soluble fibre includes plant pectin and gums and is present in most fruits and vegetables, including beans and whole grains.
- Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water. It includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose and is also referred to as ‘roughage’. Insoluble fibre helps in bulking up the stool, thereby promoting regularity with the bowel movement. It helps maintain gut health and prevents constipation. Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre is not fermented by gut bacteria. Good sources of insoluble fibre include fruits eaten with their skin, wheat bran, nuts and seeds, brown rice, etc.
The benefits of fibre for weight loss do not confine to just its appetite-reducing effects. There are several different ways in which fibre helps with weight loss. Here are some of the other roles of fibre when it comes to weight loss:
1. Promotes Gut Health
Studies have shown how fibre helps in supporting a healthy GI tract, which in turn helps promote a positive effect on weight. Our gut, particularly our large intestine, is packed with trillions of bacteria which are referred to as the gut microbiome. These organisms play a significant role in the various aspects of our health, which also includes our weight.
Fibre serves as food for these bacteria, thereby supporting the optimal health and functioning of these organisms. The soluble fibre, in particular, is the one responsible for feeding these bacteria, where it gets fermented and converted to be used for energy.
Additionally, during this process, a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate is produced that is known to help increase the production of certain gut hormones that helps regulate insulin production and boost up the uptake of glucose in muscle and fatty tissue. This in turn helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevents weight gain! On top of this, these short-chain fatty acids also help manage fat metabolism by speeding up fat burning and reducing fat storage. They are also known to help in lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
2. Reduces Belly Fat
Visceral belly fat, also known as pot-belly, is not only a sign of excess body fat but also a serious health concern. As per studies, too much visceral belly fat is linked to a greater risk of various health issues, including type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even certain types of cancer. Hence, it is crucial to find ways to help prevent fat accumulation in and around your belly as much as possible.
Increasing your fibre intake promotes more diversity in your gut microbiome. In fact, studies have suggested that people who have more diverse bacteria living in their gut are more likely to have less dangerous visceral belly fat. According to one study, it was demonstrated that increasing your fibre intake by just 10 grams a day can reduce your chance of gaining harmful visceral belly fat.
3. Suppresses Sugar Cravings
As we have learned in the above point that fibre helps suppress appetite and hunger, well, this also includes sugar cravings. Eating too many refined carbs or high-sugar foods can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate after a meal, which in turn leads to hunger and makes you more vulnerable to overeating. Studies have shown that eating high-fibre foods can not only help you in avoiding this blood sugar crash but also help you in maintaining normal blood sugar levels and suppressing sugar cravings effectively and naturally.
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The Bottom Line
Increasing your fibre intake is a great tool to help kick start your weight loss journey. It keeps you fuller for a longer period and helps reduce your appetite or sugar cravings. And apart from these, it also helps improve your gut health and help lower your risk for certain kinds of health conditions that can affect your weight. All in all, fibre is an excellent solution to not only help with weight loss but also to maintain overall health and wellness.