Tag: carbs

Fiber: BFF To Your Health

Fiber: BFF To Your Health

Seems like Fiber is IN lately, but what exactly is fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant products. I know carbohydrates are on the OUTS, but fiber is an important type of carbohydrate that is one of the keys to good health. There are two types based on water solubility. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forms a gel-like material, and is found mainly in oats, apples, citrus, peas, barley, pectin, flaxseed, and beans. Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour, wheat bran, cellulose, lignin, nuts, and many vegetables.

Did you know that Dietary Fiber can reduce cholesterol? Regular consumption can reduce cholesterol, specifically, LDL or low density lipoprotein cholesterol.  

High levels of LDL can be a big risk factor in Cardiovascular disease, in particular coronary artery disease which is the leading cause of death in both men and women of all racial groups in the United States (Mayo Clin Proc. 2009 April; 84(4): 345–352).  

 

However, it’s important to understand that the effects of fiber on blood cholesterol are not the same. Only soluble fiber can reduce cholesterol.  Insoluble fiber has not been shown to improve LDL-cholesterol. If you say that you eat enough fiber, you should also know which type of this carbohydrate you are eating.

 

Dietary fiber can also have a positive effect on blood sugar level. The consumption of soluble fiber not only decreases LDL cholesterol but also decreases blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause long-term damage to body tissues. For example, it can harm blood vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.

Soluble fiber is good for cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

Insoluble fiber is good for regular bowel movements. Yea, I know. Butt someone had to tell you.

Water Soluble (Good for Lowering Cholesterol) 

  1. Oats
  2. Apples
  3. Citrus
  4. Peas
  5. Barley
  6. Flaxseed
  7. Beans

Water Insoluble (Good for Bowel Movement)

  1. Whole Wheat Flour
  2. Wheat Bran
  3. Nuts
  4. Vegetables

 

Does fiber has any side effects? Well, almost everything we consume has side effects and fiber is not too different. Fiber could cause bloating and also may interfere with the absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium.

Fiber is like a BFF to your health. The recommended daily consumption of 25-30 g daily is called for by the American Heart Association. Don’t forget that about 10 g of the 25-30 g should be soluble and the rest insoluble fiber.

Goodbye, Low Fat Diet – I Will NOT Miss You

Goodbye, Low Fat Diet – I Will NOT Miss You

I recently met a woman who was following, or trying to follow a low fat diet. She was asking me if I thought low fat diets really work. Like most of us, she has been googling diet and fitness with a somewhat confusing result. So here is my two cents.

Low fat diets have been extremely popular. But recently there has been a trend to reduce carbohydrate consumption and increase fats and proteins. This diet strategy has shown to be extremely effective in improving overall health, body composition, and performance.

There is definitely confusion regarding low fat diets, because there is still ongoing research that examines the efficacy of low fat/high carbohydrate diets for weight loss. A lot of the confusion stems from the fact that low fat diets work when it comes to weight loss. But keep reading, there is more to this story.

The reason low fat diets work is because anytime you decrease a person’s caloric intake to a level significantly below their energy expenditure they will lose weight. It isn’t rocket science just simple math. The question should not be if low fat diets work but if they work the best?

From my own experience, the answer to that is NO. And trust me, I have been on some crazy low fat diets. Low fat diets usually include high carbohydrates, but lowering your carbohydrate consumption and increasing your fat and protein intake leads to a diet that is more effective at preserving and building lean body mass, and improving health.

I used to be “afraid” of fat. I would never eat anything with over 2 or 3 grams of fat. What a bore! Then as I started to learn more about the effects of high carbs and the math game (calories in v.s calories out), I realized I would not gain weight if I ate more fat here and there. I actually noticed my physique looking better and healthier after tweaking the fat consumption in my diet. When you can eat more than 4 grams of fat, it opens up a world of new and delicious foods!

The math game is most important when you are dealing with dietary numbers (calories in v.s. calories out), so once you have your math under control look for balance. A balanced carbohydrate/protein/fat diet is key to increase your level of satiety (you feel full longer), making it easier to stay on track. The more you stick to your plan, the better your plan will work.

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