The Top 3 Ways Fiber Can Help You Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays
By Dr. Jason Dave, ND
The holiday season is already in full swing! It’s that time of year where the sights, smells, and sounds of the holidays surround all of us. The typical holiday meal contains many empty calories – which can include an upwards of 3,000 calories or more. Furthermore, most of us are enticed to consume treats, cocktails, and appetizers which add even more calories. Don’t lose hope though- avoiding weight gain during the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. For some great strategies to stop overeating, be sure to also check out our blog on 10 Strategies to Stop Overeating During the Holidays.
Fiber to the rescue
Fiber is often overlooked as an important key nutrient that helps fight weight gain. In our diet, there are 2 main types of fiber- insoluble and soluble fiber. A healthy diet contains a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance during digestion, which helps slow down digestion and improves the absorption of nutrients.
Here are some foods that are high in soluble fiber:
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and remains intact in the digestive system. They act like bulking agents, which increase the size of the stool. Insoluble fiber helps food pass more quickly through the digestive tract.
Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include:
Let’s take a closer look at 3 ways fiber can play a crucial role in avoiding weight gain during the holidays.
1. Helps to fight cravings and support healthy blood sugar
Consuming unhealthy foods high in sugar can make us feel more energetic right away by quickly increasing our blood sugar levels. These foods also make us feel less stressed by reducing our cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Unfortunately, these effects are only temporary. When we have higher than normal blood sugar levels, our body has to rapidly produce insulin in an attempt to lower the increased blood sugar and keep it consistent- this causes hypoglycemia, or blood sugar level that drops below the normal range. This sudden drop in blood sugar can give rise to a “sugar crash,” or a feeling of sudden fatigue, irritability or headache within 4 hours after eating a meal high in sugar. The continuous spike in blood sugar and insulin levels from eating high sugar meals may eventually lead to insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain and increase belly fat.
When it comes to fighting sugar cravings, consuming more soluble fiber is the key. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion, making you feel full longer and also helps with slowing the rate at which sugar is released into your bloodstream. These effects help to sustain a steady energy level after eating, in turn helping you lose weight. Evidence has shown that the weight loss effects of fiber specifically target belly fat.
2. Supports growth of beneficial gut bacteria
There are trillions of beneficial bacteria that reside in our gut, predominantly in our large intestine. These beneficial bacteria are composed of different strains and play important roles in our health, such as supporting healthy blood sugar, weight management, immune regulation, and producing certain vitamins (such as vitamin K). It is important that we increase the population of beneficial gut bacteria so they can outcompete for nutrients and food against the more harmful strains of bacteria and other organisms.
Prebiotics are the type of fiber that our beneficial gut bacteria feed on. They allow the beneficial bacteria to produce a number of important compounds, such as short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to promote fullness and avoid weight gain. Flaxseed, both a soluble and insoluble fiber, is a great example of a beneficial prebiotic. Not only does it help with promoting healthy gut bacteria, but it can also help to support healthy blood sugar levels and promote regular bowel movements.
3. Removes waste from unhealthy eating
Toxins from unhealthy foods we eat tend to accumulate in our body over time. More specifically, these toxins stick to the intestines and colon. Unfortunately, the buildup of these toxins can lead to negative effects on the body. It can lead to weight gain, reduced nutrient intake, and colon cancer. Consuming more fiber helps to promote regular bowel movements, which eliminate waste and the toxins from the body. Without adequate amounts of fiber in our diet, these toxins begin to pool in our colon and get reabsorbed back into our body.
If you’re looking to address any (or all) of these causes of weight gain during the holidays, you’re in luck!
Our Pineapple Chia Cleanse is packed with all the soluble and insoluble fiber you need, as well as plenty of prebiotics and probiotics. The ingredients in this formula act as a daily mini-cleanse to support a healthy blood sugar level, fight cravings, and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
By Dr. Jason Dave, ND
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