Filling Up on Fiber

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Weight-loss programs such as the South Beach Diet® are fiber-rich plans, designed to encourage eating plenty of high-fiber foods, such as legumes, whole grains, and whole fruits and vegetables. Why the emphasis on fiber? A high-fiber diet can help normalize your blood sugar levels, improve your cholesterol levels, have a positive effect on bowel function, and help keep you from feeling hungry, which aids in weight loss.

“Fiber plays an important role in long-term health,” says Dr. Arthur Agatston, preventive cardiologist and author of the best-selling the South Beach Diet®, “but as a society, we don’t consume nearly enough. According to some statistics, Americans only eat between 12 and 17 grams per day when they should be getting 25-30 grams per day.”

There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels by delaying the absorption of glucose in your blood stream. It also improves cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the blood stream.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, which promotes regularity. It’s important to consume both types of fiber for good health. Most foods contain both types of fiber, but oats, nuts, beans, and fruit contain predominately soluble fiber while whole grains and vegetables contain more insoluble fiber.

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