Satisfaction Secret: Fiber

This is part of a series of tips and suggestions I've learned from the Weight Watchers program. I lost 35 pounds and have maintained that loss for three years (see my before and after pics) and am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. 

Today's Weight Watchers meeting was all about getting more fiber in your diet. While fiber helps to lower your cholesterol, control your blood sugar and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, protect you from heart disease, and lower your risk of getting certain cancers, the meeting focused on another huge benefit: feeling full and satisfied.

I eat a bowl of toasted oat bran (cooked with soymilk, the same way you'd cook oatmeal) for breakfast, and I stay full until lunch. At the meeting, I checked, and oat bran has 14 grams of fiber (compared to just 4 in oatmeal). No wonder I stay full!

Many fruits and vegetables have fiber, but some have more than others. One banana has 3 grams of fiber, whereas one cup of raspberries has 8. One pear has 5, and a cooked artichoke has 10.

Beans and legumes are also high in fiber. A cup of vegetarian baked beans has 10, and a cup of lentils has 16.

Here's a list of high-fiber foods from the Mayo Clinic.

The daily-recommended intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Because my diet is primarily fruits, veggies, beans and legumes, and whole grains, I was curious how I fared. Up until and including lunch, I'm up to 38.9!

This made me look up the health risks of eating too much fiber, but most are associated with not drinking enough water, and I drink a ton.

I've always heard that runners should stay away from high-fiber foods before runs, so I was curious what was advised for runners. This Runner's World article says, "f fiber causes runners to make so many unexpected pit stops, why bother with it at all? Because what makes it so hard on the digestive system is exactly what makes it so good for you." The article suggests not eating fiber two hours before you run, though most runners tolerate a snack of up to 5 grams of fiber before going for a run.

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