Diets with High Fiber and Low Calorie Content - dummies

Diets with High Fiber and Low Calorie Content

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

The thinking behind these high-fiber, low-calorie diets is that because fiber can’t be digested, it doesn’t have calories. This is true. And because it takes up so much room in the stomach, it’s filling, too. Also true. Therefore, if a diet is really high in fiber, weight loss should be easy.

Here are two diets that focus on fiber:

  • Eat More, Weigh Less, by Dean Ornish, MD: By keeping fat to no more than 10 percent of daily calories and eating basically a high-fiber vegetarian diet, you can reverse heart disease and lose weight.

    Studies published in scientific journals have shown that this diet keeps its promises. However, many people find such a lowfat, vegetarian diet too stringent and difficult to stick with for long. Many nutritionists believe that this diet is too low in fat and that meals provide little satiety or long-term satisfaction.

    This diet plan has some good ideas for healthier food choices. However, it may not be a promising lifelong plan for many people because it’s so restrictive. But if you can incorporate some of the lowfat, high-fiber strategies into your normal eating style, you can make positive health changes.

  • Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, by Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE and Linda Rao, MEd

    Your body needs carbohydrate for fuel. Although you shouldn’t restrict the amount of carbohydrate foods you eat, you should limit the kinds of carbohydrate based on the glycemic index.

    Some carbohydrates are digested faster and more completely than others. For example, a white potato is turned into glucose faster than an equal amount of cooked lentils. Glycemic index does change in the company of other kinds of foods, such as fat, or how the food may be cooked. Therefore, glycemic index alone can’t determine whether a carbohydrate food fits into your diet or not.

    Americans eat far too many simple, sugary, and refined carbohydrates and not enough of the fiber-rich ones. Although most people eat only about 11 grams of fiber a day, health authorities recommend consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. And remember, eating excess calories from fat, carbohydrate, or protein makes you gain weight — not just from carbohydrate alone.