Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Keep that Extra Weight Off Your Waistline: Did You Eat Your Roughage Today?

Did you eat your roughage today? What's the point in eating more roughage? Wake up! Dietary fiber does not only keep you regular, it helps you lose weight and keep it off.

What exactly is roughage? Roughage is another term for fiber. It is a substance found in plants that your body can't digest. There are two types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel. By forming this gel, it slows the rate food moves through your body and gives you a sense of fullness. This substance can be found in fruits, vegetables, and grain products. On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not absorb water very well. Insoluble fiber helps regulate that rate food passes through your intestine. This is tough part found on the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables. Without insoluble fiber, the rate can go too fast, causing diarrhea; or too slow, causing constipation.

How does this help you lose weight? There are several ways in which fiber aids in weight reduction. High insulin levels are associated with weight gain, roughage helps to decrease insulin levels. Fiber also forces you to chew, by increasing chewing time, your body recognizes early that you are no longer hungry. By filling you up, the increased amount of water absorbed by fiber gives you a feeling of satiety. By reducing total calorie intake, fiber has a very low amount of calories allowing you to consume fewer calories. By preventing the digestion of fat, binding of the fat makes it unable to be digested by your body.

How can you use this information in your everyday life? Here are some suggestions on how to increase roughage with each meal.

Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast
Drink orange juice with the pulp in it
Bran muffins
Whole grain cereals

Have a serving of vegetables with lunch and dinner
Substitute brown rice for white rice
Substitute beans and peas for meat
Substitute whole-wheat flour for white flour, if recipe allows

Fresh and dried fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables without peeling
Oatmeal Cookies or Fig Bars
Whole wheat or rye crackers

Be Cautious! Moderation is key. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Excess fiber may cause flatulence and decreased mineral absorbtion. The typical diet should contain between 25 and 35 grams per day. How can you prevent a problem form occurring?

Start slowly. Incorporate one item at a time.
Drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. Too little water may cause constipation.
Soak beans and peas in water before cooking. This will reduce your chance of flatulence.
Beware of fiber supplements.

Don't let a little gas scare you, however. Increasing fiber in addition to a healthy lifestyle may help you win your battle against the bulge. Fiber also fights against heart disease and certain types of cancer.

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