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Can Dietary Fiber Stop The Middle Age Spread?

Is weight gain just an inevitable part of middle age? Nobody needs a doctor to tell them that their metabolism and possibly, human growth hormone production, slows down after age 50. But that doesn’t make weight loss and muscle gain over 50 impossible, and for many, fiber might be the over 50 weight loss solution.

If you eat anything like a typical Western diet, you are surely not consuming enough fiber every day, and that is going to cause problems with your diet that may get reflected in your weight. As with many other problems that lead to weight gain, the issue might not be eating too much but not eating enough of the right kind of food. Fiber, like other nutrients, can help you eat more of the right food and less of the wrong food.

This is related to our early article about chia seeds and weight loss. You will see why when you see that seeds contain both insoluble and soluble fiber.

How Much Fiber Do People Need To Eat for Weight Loss And Health?

First, understand that you are probably suffering from a fiber deficiency. Here are some dietary fiber statistics from the National Institute of Health as reported by WebMD in “How Much Fiber Do I Need?”:

  • The usual rule of thumb is about 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories..
  • A typical woman should consume 25 grams of fiber a day.
  • A typical man should consume 38 grams of fiber a day.
  • The average US adult eats only about 15 grams of fiber a day, but the average US adult is not only eating about 1,000 calories of fiber a day.

How Does Fiber Help with Middle Age Weight Loss And Overall Fitness?

There are several reasons that fiber can help with over 50 weight loss. First, some baby boomers will say that they ate the same diet for the last 30 years, and they never had a problem getting fat before. Again, this is ignoring the fact that our bodies do tend to get less efficient as we age. Plenty of people do gain weight in their twenties, thirties, and forties, so if you made it to 50, 55, or 60 without getting fat, and no you are getting fat, you probably just ran out of luck.

Here’s what dietary fiber does for you:

  • Weight, density, and volume of food: Our bodies and brains don’t automatically count calories to tell us when we are full, but studies have proven that we do automatically have a certain weight or volume of food that makes us feel satiated. If you consume the right weight or volume of food, you feel full and satisfied. Fiber adds to the weight, volume, and density of food without adding calories.
  • Compare apples and apples: One study had participants eat an apple, drink apple juice, or consume apple sauce before lunch. People who ate an apple, the high-fiber choice, ate 15 percent fewer calories at lunch.
  • It works: People who consume more dietary fiber tend to weigh less than people who eat less dietary fiber.

Two Kinds of Dietary Fiber for Baby Boomer Diets

There are two kinds of fiber, and both of these two kinds of fiber help. Note that there is growing research that something called resistant starch is a third kind of fiber but that sort of deserves its own article, so this article will concentrate on the basics: soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble Fiber: This dissolves in water, and it is found in beans, other legumes, nuts and seeds, and some fruit like apples, blueberries, and pears. Soluble fiber has been linked to lowering both cholesterol and LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol. It has also been linked to reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Insoluble Fiber: This type of fiber does not dissolve in water. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables and fruit are good sources of insoluble fiber. Good vegetable choices are tomatoes, dark green salad vegetables, carrots, and cucumbers. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.

Both kinds of fiber help induce a feeling of satiety that may help keep people from overeating the wrong type of fiber.  Be wary of foods with whole grains because many products have a lot of added sugar and chemicals. That said, high fiber cereal has been associated with the diets of successful dieters who manage to lose weight and keep it up. Just read the labels because the exact definition of high fiber differs.

Adding More Fiber Into Your Diet for Weight Loss And Health

Can you eat too much fiber? Be wary as you begin to add more fiber back into your diet? If you’re used to eating 8 grams of fiber a day, you probably don’t want to begin eating 30 grams the next day. Your body needs time to adjust or you may suffer from bloating and gas. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and other good hydration liquids.

Add fiber into your diet slowly, and you should begin to notice the benefits. We have heard stories of people who added home made chile with beans back into their diets for lunch and began to tell us how they started noticing more regular bowel movements and a fairly quick drop in weight. Since well-made chile is delicious, healthy, and may help you lose weight, it seems like a good tip.

High Fiber Chile Recipe

Be wary of canned chile like all other processed foods. Here’s a quick recipe for high fiber chile you can make at home in a few minutes:

  • 2 cans of beans (we like pinto, but you pick your favorite)
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (same size as the cans of beans)
  • 1 lb ground meat or meat substitute
  • Chile powder, cumin, onion, and garlic to taste
  • 2 chopped up tomatoes (optional)

Drain and rinse the canned beans because they have a lot of salt. If you like, you can always cook up fresh beans. They are cheaper, but they take awhile to cook.

Brown your meat or meat substitute (i.e. soy crumbles).

Add the beans, tomato sauce, and browned meat or meat substitute to your pot. Then add flavorings to taste. We like to use minced garlic and diced onions, but you can use dried ingredients as well. Begin to heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the optional diced up tomatoes and cook for about 10 more minutes. These give your recipe additional taste and texture, and they add more fiber!

If you like, you can serve this high fiber chile recipe with a bit of grated cheese, some diced onions, and just a few corn chips (hey, live large – what’s chile without Fritos?).

This recipe for high fiber chile is great because it gives you both soluble and insoluble fiber in one delicious bowl. Plus, even your kids will eat it. For fiber count, you can check out the Mayo Clinic List of High Fiber food.




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  1. […] they tell us that high fiber and weight loss go together like beans and tomatoes! Of course, prepared right, chile contains a great mix of both […]

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