Fiber and weight loss are connected in a few different ways. Many health and nutrition experts assert that fiber is not only good for the body, but also serves as a natural weight loss aid. When a person eats fiber-rich foods, he naturally slows down his consumption, which can help encourage weight loss by itself. Then, fiber expands in his stomach, helping him to feel full faster and maintain the feeling of being full for a longer period of time. Additionally, fiber helps reduce intestinal absorption of carbohydrates and fats, which also helps to encourage weight loss.
One link between fiber and weight loss is related to chewing. Fiber is harder to chew than other types of foods, which translates into a slower rate of food intake and a faster feeling of being full. When a person feels full sooner, he's less likely to overeat. Consuming less food at meals typically produces at least some weight loss.
Another way in which fiber and weight loss go hand in hand involves the expansion of fiber in the stomach. This expansion helps a person to feel full without eating as much food as usual and may also help him to feel full for a longer period of time. Fiber is typically low in calories as well, which means a person may increase his consumption of fiber and still lose unwanted weight. Additionally, fiber-rich foods may take longer to digest than other foods, a benefit that also contributes to a satisfied feeling that lasts long after a meal is over.
When a person eats fiber-rich foods, the fiber helps slow his digestive process and also helps reduce the rate at which nutrients are absorbed. This can help reduce spikes and dips in blood sugar levels. With blood sugar levels on an even keel, cravings may be kept to a minimum. Fiber may also absorb some of the body's sugar and other nutrients on its way through the digestive system. In such a case, some of these nutrients are not absorbed by the intestine, which prevents them from contributing to weight gain or maintenance. Instead, fiber facilitates their removal from the body.
Besides the connection between fiber and weight loss, there's also a link between fiber and good health. People who eat a diet that is rich in fiber may be less at risk for heart disease and high cholesterol. They may be less likely to develop diabetes as well.