You may have been told that all calories are created equally; however, that’s not always the case.
For example, people often class grams of fiber as just another gram of carbohydrate, when in fact, its health-promoting and disease-reducing benefits are quite unique.
If you’ve been ignoring fiber and just focusing on calories or the 3 main macros, then this three-part article series is for you. In this first installment we’ll cover the correlative research around fiber benefiting weight loss.
Over the course of this three-part series on fiber, we will break down the different types of fibers and explain how they can help with fat loss, fighting disease, improving gut health, controlling blood sugar levels and much more.
Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight
Numerous studies have shown that fiber is a key nutrient which can help you lose weight as it aids in slowing down digestion, reduces the spike in blood sugar and insulin while aiding in general satiety.
In addition to this, high fiber foods often have a low calorie density. Which means you will naturally eat less, even if you aren’t consciously trying to diet, control your portion-size or count calories. Several studies have shown less calories are consumed when eating high fiber or low calorie dense foods; in one study participants who were provided with low calorie, high fiber foods ate a whopping 50% less.
While most people assume these benefits are only present when one consumes their fiber from natural sources such as vegetables or grains this isn’t the case. One study actually tested all the main types of fiber in supplement form over a 5 week diet.
They added these fibers to a 1200 calorie controlled diet, finding all the fiber groups resulted in significantly greater weight loss than the normal diet without the fiber. This equaled about 1.5LB extra weight loss per week, which equaled 7.5LB of extra weight loss over the 5 week period. If these figures were to be extended over a 6 month diet, it would equate to a drastic 39LB of weight loss just from fiber supplementation (1).
Interestingly, although we are still waiting on human trials, one study in rodents found that the use of Soluble Corn Fiber, (the fiber used in Quest Bars), even decreased the fat gain during over-feeding while reducing levels of fat in the blood by an astounding 30% (2).
Several other studies have shown fiber and fiber supplements, including some newer data on Soluble Corn Fiber, to be effective at improving satiety and increasing weight loss over a lower fiber diet (3,4,5).
That wraps up the first part in our series on fiber. Already we’re starting to see more and more researching being done to truly understand the importance of fiber in our daily nutrition. For bodybuilders especially, as satiety is a huge factor come competition time when meals are calculated and every calorie counts.
We’ll be back in part 2 with the effects of fiber on diabetes and blood sugar issues, along with the positive benefits of fiber against heart disease and cholesterol.
Rudy Mawer is a sports scientist, researcher and sports nutritionist. He's worked and consulted with NBA athletes, Hollywood Celebs, MLB athletes, Gold Medalists, World Record Holders, Pro Bodybuilders and even the US Navy. He specializes in the latest science then applying it to fat loss, hormones and female specific transformations. He has over 500,000 members on his famous physique plans and helps educate personal trainers on his seminars around the world.
1.) Birketvedt, G. S., Shimshi, M., Thom, E., & Florholmen, J. (2005). Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction. Medical Science Monitor, 11(1), PI5-PI8.
2.) Artiss, J. D., Brogan, K., Brucal, M., Moghaddam, M., & Jen, K. L. C. (2006). The effects of a new soluble dietary fiber on weight gain and selected blood parameters in rats. Metabolism, 55(2), 195-202.
3.) Keithley, J., & Swanson, B. (2005). Glucomannan and obesity: a critical review. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 11(6), 30.
4.) Papathanasopoulos, A., & Camilleri, M. (2010). Dietary fiber supplements: effects in obesity and metabolic syndrome and relationship to gastrointestinal functions. Gastroenterology, 138(1), 65-72.
5.) Weickert, M. O., & Pfeiffer, A. F. (2008). Metabolic effects of dietary fiber consumption and prevention of diabetes. The Journal of nutrition, 138(3), 439-442.
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