It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats.
More Food Substitutions for Faster Slimming ResultsBy Jude Buglewicz
One of the hardest things about losing weight is dealing with hunger pangs. Pizza, donuts, and chips are so satisfying because they're high in fat, which promotes a feeling of fullness. Unfortunately, fat is also high in calories. Happily, you have a healthier option with fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes that are nutrient dense and much lower in calories than those artery-clogging munchies.
If you've been avoiding fiber because of its "smelly" reputation, know this: there are two kinds of fibersoluble and insoluble. The fiber in oats, fruit pectin, and beans is solublethat is, it dissolves in water and breaks down in your intestines with the help of gas-forming bacteria. Remember that bean-eating scene in Blazing Saddles? A huge benefit of soluble fiber, though, is that it helps reduce bad cholesterol. (So stock up on your Beano!) Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can't be broken down by intestinal bacteria; hence, no gas. It's the fiber in most vegetables and in wheat, rye, and other whole grains.
Since fiber isn't digestible, it has no caloriesit just passes through your system, scrubbing your insides clean, keeping you regular, and decreasing your risk of colon cancer and diverticulosis, among other ailments. It adds bulk to your foods, which makes you feel fuller with less. To get the most fiber out of your vegetables and fruits, eat the skin, toojust wash it thoroughly first, of course.
It's recommended that you get 25 to 40 grams of fiber per day. But if you're used to a lot less, it's best to increase your fiber consumption gradually over the course of a few weeks to give your digestive system a chance to get used to your new eating habits. And be sure to increase your fluid intake, too, as fiber absorbs a lot of water in your system. Drink up8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of water a day.
Take a look at these lists of everyday foods below, and keep in mind that the more fiber per serving, the more nutritious that food is, and the more filling, too! (And for help replacing fattening, high-calorie foods with healthier alternatives, be sure to see "15 Easy Food Substitutions for Big-Time Calorie Savings.")
Cereal 1 cup
Bran flakes 120 calories 6 g fiber Cocoa Puffs 117 calories 1 g fiber Cheerios, plain
(whole grain oats)
111 calories 4 g fiber Wheaties 104 calories 2 g fiber Corn flakes, plain 101 calories 1 g fiber
Winners: Bran Flakes and Cheerios are great high-fiber, low-cal bets, but there are lots of healthy cereal choices in grocery stores now; just read the labels and avoid high-sugar varieties.
English Muffin 1
Whole wheat 134 calories 4 g fiber Thomas' English Muffin, plain 132 calories 0 g fiber
Winner: Whole wheat, hands down. With all that fiber, you'll stave off hunger pangs much longer!
Whole wheat 170 calories 5 g fiber White 165 calories 1 g fiber
Winner: Whole wheatfive times the fiber!
Bread 1 slice
Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry 90 calories 2 g fiber Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat 90 calories 2 g fiber Wonder Bread, white 70 calories 0.25 g fiber Roman Meal 100% Whole Wheat 60 calories 2 g fiber Wonder Bread Whole Wheat 55 calories 1.5 g fiber
Winner: Most of the 2-grams-of-fiber-per-slice breads are good as long as they are also not high in fat and/or sugar. Read labels to make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain.
Rice 1 cup, medium grain, cooked
White 242 calories 1 g fiber Brown 218 calories 4 g fiber Wild 166 calories 3 g fiber
Winner: Brown rice is best, but wild rice is a great choice, too. Pay the extra if you have to for brown rice with your takeoutyour intestines will thank you.
Spaghetti 1 cup, cooked
White, regular 221 calories 3 g fiber Whole wheat 174 calories 6 g fiber
Winner: This is a no-brainerwhole wheat rules. It may take a couple minutes more before it's al dente, but it's worth it!
Beans 1 cup, canned, cooked
Garbanzo (chick peas) 286 calories 11 g fiber Refried 237 calories 13 g fiber Black 227 calories 15 g fiber Kidney 218 calories 16 g fiber Pinto 206 calories 11 g fiber
Winner: How can you go wrong with kidney beansa true fiber powerhouse! But none of these beans are fiber slackers, so bring on the three-bean salads!
Veggies 1 cup
Potato, medium, baked (w/skin) 161 calories 4 g fiber Green peas 124 calories 8 g fiber Broccoli, chopped, cooked 54 calories 6 g fiber Carrots, sliced, cooked 54 calories 4 g fiber Brussels sprouts 38 calories 3 g fiber
Winner: Green peas are great to add to salads to boost fiber content. Consider healthy split-pea soups, too (check fat content, thoughsome are made with bacon, which drives up the calorie count). But overall, you can't go wrong with more veggiesof every variety!
Popcorn 1/2 bag (about 56 cups of popped corn!)
Microwave, regular 300 calories 5 g fiber 20 g fat Air-popped 155 calories 5 g fiber 0 g fat Microwave, low-fat 90 calories 3 g fiber 4 g fat
Winner: Air-popped, for the most fiber without the fat.
Tortilla Chips 1/2 bag (about 4 oz.)
Nacho flavor 576 calories 4 g fiber 28 g fat Plain, white corn 552 calories 4 g fiber 28 g fat Light, baked 524 calories 8 g fiber 16 g fat
Winner: Light, baked chips, if you must have them at all: lower in calories and fat, yet higher in fiber.
Crackers vs. Carrots (1 serving) + Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.)
Crackers, whole wheat (14 g) 62 calories 1 g fiber Crackers, saltines (15 g) 59 calories 0 g fiber Carrots, baby (85 g) 30 calories 2 g fiber Peanut butter, smooth 190 calories 2 g fiber Peanut butter, smooth, low-fat 180 calories 2 g fiber
Winner: Baby carrots with low-fat peanut butter is best, but if you must have crackers, opt for low-cal whole wheat.
Fruit vs. Juice 1 cup, unsweetened
Apple, with skin 65 calories 3 g fiber Apple juice 117 calories 0 g fiber Orange 85 calories 4 g fiber Orange juice 110 calories 0 g fiber Tomato 31 calories 2 g fiber Tomato juice (no salt) 41 calories 1 g fiber
Winner: Fruit! Read Steve's article below for more on the benefits of whole fruits over juices.
Calories, fat, and fiber information from NutritionData.com, pfwholegrains.com, and dietFacts.com.
The Whole Fruit and Nothing but the FruitBy Steve Edwards
A new study has shown eating whole fruit could be the main dietary difference between obese and overweight individuals. And that would be whole fruit, not juice, jam, smoothies, or fruit-filled dessert items. Let's give Mother Nature some love; she knew what she was doing.
A recent study at the University of Southern California showed that the main difference between 52 normal-weight adults and 52 overweight and obese adults was the amount of fiber in their diet, which mainly came from fruit.
"These findings suggest that the composition of a diet, especially low dietary fiber and fruit intake, plays a role in the (development) of obesity," concluded the study team in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
In the study, the normal-weight group consumed an average of 33 percent more fiber and 43 percent more carbohydrates than their overweight counterparts. This balanced approach is at odds with most fad diets, and suggests that fiber, much more than eating low carb or low fat, is responsible for controlling weight.
In today's marketplace fruit is often altered, most commonly in a juiced state. A Jamba Juice employee complained after my juice article a few weeks back that they used real fruit and "didn't add sugar," in contesting my nutritional breakdown of their products (which, incidentally, came from their own Web site). This is the type of training she had been given, which leaves out the rather important fact that fruit, when turned into juice, is mainly sugar. In nature, it's surrounded with a generous layer of fiber, which slows the sugar's absorption into our system, regulates our appetites, and also, it would seem, helps us become thinner and healthier.
For Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.