Why Fibre Is Key For Plant-Based Weight Loss

In this article, I will reveal some little known facts about the best and the beneficial effect of fibre has over your body.

We will go through what fibre is, the two types of fibre, foods high in insoluble fibre and soluble fibre and how eating more fibre can help with weight loss.

First of all, let me explain what fibre is...

Fibre is an indigestible part of all plant foods. Unlike other components of plants such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates (which our body can break down and absorb) fibre isn't digested by your body. This is because your digestive system cannot stomach fibre, so it is excreted undigested. Well, you may think you don’t need fibre because it’s excreted undigested, but that’s not true. It is found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.

Let's imagine the following picture:

You overeat at least once or twice a week, more often at weekends, and your regular menu doesn't include much fibre. Well, this might be your lifestyle; however, you should consider that it may cause you lots of health problems like:

  • Indigestion

  • Stomach aches

  • Constipation

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Diverticulitis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Obesity

  • Coronary heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Colon cancer

  • Even things as simple as you getting tired fast or being unable to concentrate on what you are doing.

I mean you become less productive at work and more irritable at home. Besides all this, you gain weight and that’s the moment when you realize you have a problem.

In order to solve a problem, you should first find the reason for it. In this case, it’s the lowered intake of fibre-rich foods and respectively - the higher intake of foods containing no fibre (like meat).

How much fibre do you need?

The average amount of recommended fibre intake is about 25g for women and 38 grams for men per day. Unfortunately, most people's regular diets include less than 10-15 grams daily.

If you are lacking fibre it is time to start consuming more fibre-rich foods, however, it is true that the more we eat the more wind we produce. BUT this is normal and not a reason to avoid fibre. Instead, I encourage you to increase your fibre gradually, to help avoid too much wind.

How much fibre is too much?

If you are on a plant-based diet like me, you can end up having too much fibre per day. However, this is still pretty uncommon depending on what you eat. If you have too much fibre it can cause bloating and gas, however, these side effects usually only occur if you are consuming 70g or more of fibre a day.

Tip: a high-fibre diet only works when you drink enough water. As an example, if you have some high-fibre cereal with around 10g of fibre per serve. You may still have abdominal discomfort or constipation if it is not accompanied by enough fluid.

Types of fibre

There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble. If you start eating more food rich in fibre, you’ll be amazed by its beneficial effects over your body, health and way of life.

Soluble fibre

Soluble fibre forms a glue-like gel in the intestinal tract. The gel softens stools (no more constipation) and improves your digestion (no more indigestion). One of its other major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Good sources of soluble fibre

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Oat bran

  • Barley

  • Seed husks

  • Flaxseed

  • Psyllium

  • Dried beans

  • Lentils

  • Peas

  • Soy milk and soy products.

Insoluble fibre

Insoluble fibre is an excellent natural laxative, because of its abilities to hold onto water and to push waste faster along the intestines - this way fibre decreases the risk of colon cancer, constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids.

Good sources of insoluble fibre

  • Wheat bran

  • Corn bran

  • Rice bran

  • The skins of fruits and vegetables

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Dried beans

  • Wholegrain foods.

Resistant starch

Whilst resistant starch isn't a type of fibre it works in a similar way. Resistant starch is the part of starchy food that resists normal digestion in the small intestine. It can also be formed by cooking and manufacturing processes such as snap freezing.

Just like fibre resistant starch is also important for bowel health. Thanks to bacteria in the large bowel it ferments nad changes the resistant starch into short-chain carry acids. These acids are important to bowel health and may protect against cancer and play a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Sources of resistant starch

  • Unprocessed cereals and grains

  • Unripe bananas

  • Cooked and cooled potatoes

  • Slightly undercooked pasta

  • Commercial food products (bread and breakfast cereals) with the ingredient Hi-maize

Fibre and weight control

So how does fibre help with weight loss and weight control? Well first of high-fibre foods tend to have fewer calories per gram of food. As a result a you could consume the same amount of high-fibre food (compared to what you normally eat) in fewer calories, which in turn will help you lose weight.

Secondly, high-fibre foods are often bulky and therefore filling.

Thirdly, fibre slows down stomach emptying and you feel fuller longer. This effect helps you eat less, your body burns additional calories to digest fibre, helping you lose weight.

And finally, all this can help to maintain lower blood sugar levels and prevent a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which over the years has been linked with obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.

Tips for fitting in more fibre

  • Look for bread that lists whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label.

  • Use whole-grain pasta or pulse pasta instead of white pasta.

  • Try brown rice, wild rice or quinoa instead of white rice.

  • Know which packaged foods are high in fibre. You can find this out by reading the nutrient panel on the packaging. If it has 4g or more of fibre it's good. If it has 7g or more per serving its excellent.

  • And finally, try to fit as much fruit, vegetables and legumes as possible into your meals.

In conclusion, I'd like to tell you that you won't be sorry if you start eating more fibre-rich foods. Like many other people I used to take not enough fibre, and I suffered stomach aches. Then I started to eat more fruits and fibre-rich foods in my daily menu. I must admit that it really worked for me, and now fibre-rich food is the most important nutritious part of my regular diet.

What you should do now

  1. I have been where you are and I have women all over the world (just like you) transition to eating a plant-based diet. If you are looking for a guide to help you find the healthiest way to eat, this check out these blog posts is a great place to start.

  2. If you are interested in weight loss, download this fantastic FREE Mini Weight Loss Guide and other resources.

  3. If you would like to fast track your weight loss, check out my Weight Loss Starter Kit.

  4. And finally, if you want to join the Where My Footsteps Go Community click here.