Afraid of carbs? You’re not alone! Pop media has stuffed our brains with the idea that carbs make us fat, but what underlies this myth?
The reality is that high-sugar foods don’t have many nutrients. After devouring a pint of ice cream, your blood sugar spikes, then drops rapidly, leaving you grabbing for more. This pattern of high-sugar insulin spikes will likely contribute to fat storage, which is the exact opposite of what most people seek in health and fitness.
Fiber, however, is a carb, too! Unlike sugar, fiber is a kind of complex carb. There are two major types: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is known for helping to stabilize blood sugar. More blood sugar stability means fewer cravings, fewer insulin spikes, and ultimately fewer opportunities for the body to store fat. Great sources include oats, lentils, apples, oranges, nuts, flaxseed, peas, celery, carrots, and many fiber-based supplements.
Insoluble fiber keeps things moving in the bowel direction called out. A healthy bowel allows your body to absorb the nutrients that keep you satisfied without being bloated. Examples include zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and couscous.
These fiber-rich foods are also nutrient-dense, leaving you feeling satisfied and crushing those cravings that can sidetrack your weight-loss fuel plans.
How Much Do I Need?
According to the Institute of Medicine, men benefit from 30-38 grams/day, and women from 21-25 grams for general health. When you look at a food label, a fiber-rich food is one with 20% or more of the recommended daily value, according to the FDA. Also, ingredients like chicory root and inulin are examples of supplemental fibers to help you reach your fiber goals. Spreading your intake of fiber throughout the day allows your body to run at its best all day.
If you are a healthy adult interested in making friends with carbs to amp up your weight-loss efforts, we hope this offers insight on how to give your nutrition a fiber-rich make-over.
About the Author: Dr. Meredith Butulis is a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach in practice since 2002. She consistently walks the talk as a fitness, physique, and OCR world level competitor and lifestyle transformer since 2006, celebrating many wins along the way.