In this week’s ‘Ask Jenny’ I answered questions from one of New Beauty Magazine’s editor as part of their NewBeauty Brain Trust board of experts…
Generally speaking, what role does fiber play in our diet?
In my opinion, fiber is so key to our health that we should be considering it as one of our macronutrients and think Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat and Fiber when building our meals and daily diet. One of my first recommendations when I start working with a new client is for them to increase their fiber intake through leafy greens, vegetables and low sugar fruits.
Fiber has a number of roles in our diet, including:
What can a lack of fiber look like in our diet? Too much?
The majority of Americans do not eat even the lowest recommended amount of fiber, and this is due to the prevalence of highly processed foods in our diets, and the lack of fiber rich fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains. If the majority of foods on your plate are white or beige, and have come out of a package, then it’s definitely going to be a meal that is low in fiber.
I rarely see a diet that is too high in fiber! Typically, if a client feels their diet is too high in fiber it is usually that they are not drinking enough water to help with elimination. But too much fiber can cause bloating, gas and constipation.
How do we know how much fiber we should be having every day/is there a magic number? Does this promote a healthy weight?
The FDA recommends a fiber intake of 28g, but studies show that this is woefully low if we wish to promote optimum health and promote a healthy weight. Fiber is key for blood sugar balance, insulin sensitivity and promotion of the hormones that make us feel full and satiated, so is very important for metabolic health and weight management. Rather than counting fiber grams I recommend to aim for 2-3 servings of vegetables at each meal, which is a key part of my Lean & Clean Food Formula.
Why do you believe there has been such a resurgence around the importance of fiber lately?
Usually, I am not a fan of diet fads or trends as they typically do not have a lot of science behind them, but I am all for this resurgence! I think the popularity of diets such as the F-Factor have brought fiber to the forefront again, but personally I like my clients to get the majority of their fiber from vegetables and fruits as they are also packed with health promoting micronutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols.
What are your favorite ways to sneak fiber into your diet?
I’m all about adding a ton of vegetables and a little low sugar fruit into the diet as my key fiber sources, as this is not just going to add fiber, but also provide gut health and beauty boosting micronutrients too. I have a smoothie for breakfast every morning, and this will contain 2 handfuls of leafy greens, zucchini and avocado, and I add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed as this contains compounds that help detoxify excess estrogen. For lunch I typically eat a huge salad with leafy greens, tomatoes, avocado and fermented veggies, and dinner will usually have at least 2-3 serving of vegetables, and I will swap out any carbs for fiber rich cauliflower rice and/or lentils or chickpeas, such as in my Lean & Clean program.