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Got Fiber, It’s the Newly Discovered Key to Appetite Control

Jun. 16, 2014|640 views
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I've always said that a diet featuring fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and whole grains is best for vibrant health. It promotes a strong immune system, healthy body weight, sustainable energy, and even youthful-looking skin. Such a diet features few, if any, processed foods. It's also extremely low in added sugars, and ideally contains no additives, such as artificial colors, flavor enhancers, preservatives, or potentially toxic pesticides.

But let's back up. Did I say this diet promotes healthy body weight? Yes. I did. And now scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered why this is so. All the foods I mentioned have one thing in common. They're whole, natural foods from the plant kingdom, and they all feature generous amounts of dietary fiber.

You probably learned years ago that dietary fiber—what we used to call "roughage"—is mostly indigestible stuff from plants. It helps keep the digestive process moving along, and ensures regular and trouble-free bowel movements. We've learned in recent years that our guts are made up of far more bacterial cells than our own body's cells. So keeping a healthy balance of gut bacteria—having a healthy "gut microbiome"—is crucial to human health.

The gut microbiome plays an important role in digestion, immune system function, and possibly even mood and appetite regulation. We're only just beginning to unravel the full implications of living harmoniously with these microbes, which have been right under our noses all along. One way to achieve and maintain this balance is to consume plenty of plant foods.

The reason is simple. Gut microbes love dietary fiber. We humans can't break it down. But they can. And research suggests that the most healthful types of microbes are happiest when they have a constant supply of fiber from plants. And guess what? According to the UK scientists, when gut microbes metabolize fiber, they produce a chemical called acetate. This simple chemical reaches the brain through the bloodstream. Once there, it tells the brain it's time to stop eating. And just like that, your appetite is under control. You stop eating. And your body weight remains in the healthy range. Voila! Another good reason to eat high-fiber plant foods, such as legumes, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

What are some of your favorite high fiber foods?
Has anyone who eats a high fiber diet find this to be true for them?

Tags:  dietary fiber, body image, weight loss