You have probably heard of fiber to improve your digestive and bowel health, but did you also know that fiber can aid weight loss?

Most of us have heard the word numerous times before, but not all of us know what it actually means. Fiber is the term given to carbohydrates that cannot be digested by humans; usually found in legumes, wholegrains, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. There are two types:

Soluble Fiber: attracts water and slows down digestion.
Insoluble Fiber: helps food pass through the digestive tract smoothly and adds bulk to your meals.

Because all types of fiber simply pass through our bodies and cannot be digested, they don’t provide any calories. That being said, it helps you feel fuller faster because it adds more bulk to your meals. A 300 calorie meal with 10g of fiber will make you feel almost twice as full as a 300 calorie meal that is fiber-free.

Because fiber slows down digestion, eating high fiber foods will help you feel fuller for longer too. It takes longer for you to feel hungry again following a high fiber meal, meaning you have more controlled eating with better portion control if you make the simple switch from white grains to whole grains.

Soluble fiber has a direct effect on the absorption of fats and sugars from your meals too. When you eat a piece of fruit that contains fiber for example, the sugar content in the fruit is absorbed into your bloodstream much more slowly than drinking juiced fruit which does not contain any fiber. Similarly, soluble fiber can bind to fat in your stomach and decrease its absorption, leading to lower cholesterol.

Foods High in Fiber

Soluble Insoluble
Peas Whole grains
Beans Fruit and Vegetables (especially with skin)
Lentils Nuts
Oats Oats
Chia seeds Flaxseeds

Essentially, increasing your fiber intake will not just help with your weight loss, but it also has a direct positive impact on your digestion and prevents a variety of diseases including diabetes and high cholesterol. Combining both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet is the best way of achieving the beneficial effects of the nutrient.