Monday, February 9, 2009

Why we need fiber and why it lowers points

I figured that I would start my first post about fiber since it is so important to Weight Watchers!
Before I start though I want to let you know that I am giving you this information so that you will see food differently not so that you will have another things to stress or worry about.
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What is fiber?
Fiber is a virtually indigestible substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. Fiber is a special type of carbohydrate that passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged, without being broken down into nutrients.
You'd assume it was a vital nutrient. You'd be wrong. Although classified as a carbohydrate, fiber supplies no vitamins, minerals or even calories.
Why do we need it?
It does, however, play important roles in the digestion process from start to finish:
Because it demands that food be more thoroughly chewed, fiber slows down the eating process and helps contribute to a feeling of being full, which in turn can help prevent obesity from overeating.

Fiber makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay there longer.

Fiber slows digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) in food enters the bloodstream more slowly, which keeps blood sugar on a more even level.

Fiber is broken down in the colon (the main part of the large intestine) by bacteria (a process called fermentation), and the simple organic acids produced by this breakdown helps to nourish the lining of the colon. These acids also provide fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may have an important role in metabolism.

My summary of all this
Fiber makes us feel full! It reduces the bad spikes in our blood sugars (goodbye sugar crashes) and moves waste though us faster. I really think this is what makes us feel better when we follow ww. This might be TMI but I can tell such a difference in my stomach when I follow my points because I am eating more fiber, in both the way it feels and looks. I also have much better bowel movements and get more accurate weigh ins because all that extra waste is gone in the morning.
What foods contain fiber
I am guessing if you have ever calculated points for ww you have a better idea of what foods have fiber in them. Foods that are naturally found in nature are higher in fiber, think fruit and veggies! You will never find fiber in meat, eggs or milk. (They are still very important though, more on that to come. Remember we can't survive just on fiber alone.)
Take it slow
If you haven't been eating enough fiber, it's wise to increase your intake slowly. Doing so all at once can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea. It's also important to drink plenty of water when eating lots of fiber. Otherwise, you may irritate, even block your digestive tract.
Wow I may sound really smart but most of this is researched on Google. Cut & paste also help! I do run it by my hubby who has a health and exercise science degree.
Feel free to ask questions though.

8 comments:

  1. I think it's awesome that you've decided to blog about all this! Some people have no idea the awesome (sometimes gross - hehe) effects of fiber and the other important nutrients we need. Great blog!

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  2. Fiber is very important with WW. I am so gald that you posted about this. Fiber One bars are a very tasty treat to get in some of your fiber. The choc. ones are yummy and I've heard that the caramel ones are very good too.

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  3. I'm with Kelly! I really like the Fiber One bars!

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  4. I am so glad you posted about this!! :)

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  5. This is a great summary about fiber!! And I'd never heard the info about the colon, which is interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Hi there! I agree with the above posts and thank you too! Question for you (and all of you who may be able to leave advice) - what did you do about your clothes as you lost weight?! I am thrilled to be losing a few pounds, but can't afford a new wadrobe...argh! I wonder if it is worth it to get alterations of some items or if buying new ones are the only option?! PLUS, I would hate to buy new clothes and then possibly lose more or gain some back. Anyways, not necessarily complaining, but don't know a good solution...any thoughts?

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