According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories eaten led to 4.5 pounds lost over the course of the study. Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that adults who simply upped their fiber intake to 30 grams per day lost more than four pounds in a year.
If you eat like most Americans, you won't have any problem adding 8 or more grams of additional fiber to your diet. According to What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2012 national nutrition surveillance data, adults average just 18 grams of fiber per day. That's a far cry from the 25 and 38 grams recommended for women and men respectively by the Institute of Medicine.
Here are 5 simple ways to fiber up to slim down.
1. Perfect Your Pantry
An easy way to add fiber to your diet is to stock your pantry with high-fiber options like canned beans, chickpeas and artichoke hearts. A study in the journal Nutrients reported that those who frequently (>6 times per week) use canned foods get more produce servings and higher intakes of 17 different nutrients, including fiber, compared to those who use the least canned goods. Beans have about 7-9 grams of fiber per half-cup serving, chickpeas pack in over 5 grams and artichoke hearts have nearly 3 grams per half cup.
How to Get More: Try this delish Black Bean and Avocado salad.
2. Get Nutty
All nuts have a satisfying crunch, but they have different fiber counts. For example, pistachios are one of the highest-fiber nuts while cashews, macadamia and walnuts are among the fiber losers. According to the USDA nutrient database, an ounce (about ½ cup or 49 kernels) of pistachios contains 3 grams of fiber and they have a lower fat and calorie counts, compared to many other nuts. Plus, because you crack them open to eat them, they're a more mindful nosh.
How to Get More: Enjoy a handful of pistachios for a snack or use them in your salads and entrees, like this Pistachio-Crusted Salmon.
3. Fill Up (Not Out) On Fruit
Fruit, including dried fruit, helps bridge the fiber gap while also providing essential nutrients for relatively few calories. For example, a medium apple has nearly 4.5 grams and a medium pear packs 5.5 grams! And don't forget about the fruit most associated with fiber... prunes. Add them to yogurt or keep individually-wrapped Sunsweet Ones in your car or office to eat when you feel like snacking on something sweet. Each prune has 25 calories and nearly a gram of fiber.
How to Get More: Make fruit part of your snacks and if you want something sweet for dessert, try a fruit-based treat like yogurt with berries or this waistline-friendly apple crumble.
4. Enjoy Wholesome Whole Grains
Adding whole grains to your daily meals will quickly help you meet your daily fiber quota. For example a cup of oatmeal has 4 grams of hunger-crushing fiber, along with complex carbohydrates to fuel your day. There are many high-fiber (4 or more grams per serving) of cold cereals to help you fiber up too. For lunch, look for high-fiber breads or wraps to make sandwiches. For example, Flatout's Soft 100 Percent Whole Wheat has a whopping 8 grams of filling fiber for just 100 calories!
How to Get More: For each of your three main meals, be sure you have at least one whole grain serving.
5. Veg Out
Calorie-poor and fiber-rich, veggies are essential for losing weight and keeping it off. Too bad Americans don't like their veggies: Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 87 percent of Americans don't meet the recommended 2-3 servings of veggies per day. While all veggies will help you meet your fiber quota, the highest-fiber fresh picks include spinach (5 grams per cup), artichokes (7 grams for 1 medium) and Brussels sprouts (more than 3 grams per cup).
How to Get More: Enjoy salads for lunch and add veggies to egg dishes, casseroles, soup and sandwiches. Snack on crunchy veggies with a yogurt-based dip or hummus.
All Nutrient Values taken from USDA Nutrient Database