By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
I’ll get straight to the point. Getting enough fiber in your diet can help you with weight loss and the reduction of belly fat, reduce your risk of cancer, and help you live a longer, healthier life.
So where can you find fiber? Dietary fiber is mainly found in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. It is not heavily digested like our macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), and is known to help relieve (and/or prevent) constipation. Dietary fiber also helps lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many other types of cancer, while ensuring your body stays healthy by fighting inflammation.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, slows down how quickly your stomach releases digested food into the rest of your digestive tract. It has been shown to help you lose belly fat—and keep that belly fat from coming back—by feeding the good gut bacteria that lives in your intestines. Simply put, the process of breaking down this type of fiber is known as fermentation, which creates the byproduct of short-chain fatty acids. In most studies, these fatty acids are shown to reduce belly fat.
Here’s the caveat. By supplementing or increasing your fiber intake, your body might have some side effects as it gets used to the proper amount of fiber. (Most of us don’t get enough. You need to increase your fiber intake slowly, or else you might run into some stomach cramping, gassiness, or bloating.
My personal favorite fiber supplements is Metamucil. Not only does it taste good (I prefer the orange flavor with my breakfast), but each tablespoon also gives you 3 grams of dietary fiber, which is a solid amount for a tiny tablespoon. To put this into perspective, the average American only consumes around 15g per day—when we should be taking in about 30 grams. So adding 6-9g of fiber in the morning is extremely helpful in hitting that 30g goal.
All in all, fiber is often missed or not really taken seriously, because its benefits are either misunderstood or not widely known. But adding a fiber supplement to your diet can help you lose belly fat, and help your body stay efficient and healthy for the rest of your life.