Monday, October 23, 2006

Fiber Benefits: Health and Weight Loss

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Over the years the food industry has been steadily reducing the fiber content in food as a result of food processing. At the same time diet trends have been moving away from foods containing fiber and towards high protein, low carbohydrate type foods.

What people don’t realize is fiber is essential both to good health and weight loss maintenance. The reduction or absence of fiber in the diet may result in many health conditions and chronic diseases. A recent British study suggested that white bread increases the risk of developing cancer.

The other thing people aren’t aware of is fiber can actually help you lose weight. Yes, that’s right. Carbohydrates included in this category are those that are low in starch content. For example, fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Those high in starch are potatoes, rice, white bread, etc. – and should be avoided or reduced.

High fiber carbohydrates are also lower in glycemic index or slow carbs (not low carbs). They digest slower and therefore don’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Scientists believe foods that keep blood glucose (sugar) levels relatively stable result in improved insulin response and may enhance fat metabolism.

This is why the Glycemic index (GI) - type diets became popular. Although, authors of these types of diets attribute successful weight loss to low GI carbohydrates, they are only half right. Many Scientists suggest that it’s the high fiber content in these low GI foods that‘s associated with improved health and weight loss rather than their glycemic index values.

References:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/
healthmain.html?in_article_id=411506&in_page_id=1774

http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/9/4197

http://www.hsibaltimore.com/ealerts/ea200603/
ea20060308.html
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