Weight loss can feel overwhelming at times, so it’s easier to take it one step at a time. It’ll be even easier if your first step is one that can show big results—fast. And we have the perfect step: a healthy eating habit that can help you drop nearly a pound a week. What’s the eating habit, you ask? It’s straightforward: eat your daily recommended intake of fiber, or 28 grams per day.
If it doesn’t sound like a groundbreaking habit, that’s because it shouldn’t be! But the issue is that most Americans currently aren’t eating enough of the satiating, digestive-health-supporting nutrient. The most recent statistics show that 95% of Americans don’t eat enough fiber. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
We’re not just barely missing our daily recommended fiber intake, we’re falling way short of the recommended 28 grams. Adult men consume just 18.4 grams of fiber per day while women consume 15.5 grams, according to the USDA.
This deficiency is exactly why a healthy eating habit of eating your daily recommended intake of fiber will have such a huge benefit for weight loss.
Increasing your fiber intake from 16 to 28 grams of fiber per day—an increase of 75%—has been shown to stave off hunger, decrease energy intake, and promote weight loss.
A small study published in the journal ISRN Obesity tracked participants as they increased the fiber in their diets by 12 grams per day to the recommended 28 grams. Over the course of 4 weeks, participants either ate 1.5 cups of beans per day or other high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Both groups decreased their caloric intake by 250 to 350 calories per day, reported feeling less hungry and more full, and lost between 3 and 3.75 pounds—that’s nearly a pound a week!
To put this healthy eating habit into practice, consume at least one high-fiber food (3 grams of fiber or more) at every meal, and you can add 12 grams of fiber to your daily intake. For starters, it’ll help if you knew the best high-fiber foods to put on your plate. And for some examples, these are some of our favorite ways to add fiber to your diet:
- Add pumpkin seeds to your salad (2 grams of fiber per ounce)
- Sneak chickpeas into your pasta salads (3 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup)
- Snack on some popcorn (3.5 grams of fiber per 3 cups)
- Dip your carrots into hummus—not ranch (4 grams of fiber per 4 Tbsp)
- Toss some raspberries on top of your yogurt (4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup)
- Switch to whole grain bread (5 grams of fiber per slice)
- Sprinkle chia seeds into a weight loss smoothie (10 grams of fiber per 2 Tbsp)
Remember, you just need to eat an additional 12 grams of fiber per day to reap the weight loss benefits of this healthy eating habit. You can reach that with the chia seeds and hummus alone! For fat burning reinforcements, you can also stock up on The 12 Best Foods That Speed Up Weight Loss.
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