Today is a very important one. I’m not posting these in order, and maybe this should be considered #1. EAT MORE FIBER. Sounds simple, but here’s a trick that can help you get healthier, thinner, and lower your cancer risk. A win/win!
The Role of Fiber in Weight Loss, Heart Disease and Diabetes:
Dr. Dennis Burkitt, an English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and western people like you and me. The bushmen seemed to be free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. They ate a ton of fiber every single day. In fact, the bushman had a stool weight of 2 pounds and the westernized men had a stool weight of only 4 ounces (yes, 87.5% smaller!). Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from a raw whole foods diet (roots, berries, leaves and plant foods). And the fiber is what helped them stay much healthier than the average American today.
Why is fiber so great?
- Fiber evens out blood sugar, and slows how fast sugar from foods enteres our blood stream, decreasing the insulin response needed to process the sugar load.
- Fiber is great for your heart: people who eat a high fiber diet have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.
- For every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent.
- Fiber may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing overgrowth in your bowel that can lead to autoimmune problems or skin rashes. (leaky gut syndrome)
- Dietary fiber (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of polyps in your intestine – by 40 percent.
- Fiber can help remove toxins. This lowers your cancer risk. Studies are beginning to demonstrate this.
- If you eat more fiber, you have less risk of hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome.
- A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.
So, short of eating twigs and leaves, how can you increase fiber? A whole foods diet helps enormously. But, here’s something that can augment this:
PGX, glucomannan and konjac root are different names for Konjac fiber — a starch from the root of the konjac plant (Amorphophallus konjac) that grows in both China and Japan. Unlike other fibrous plants, this one holds amazing amounts of water, and decreases constipation, moves things along, and helps you absorb less calories.
I’ve been on this for 8 years. I can tell when I forget to take it. In fact, Mark Hyman M.D. says in his latest book Eat Fat Get Thin
“I recommend taking PGX before every meal during my weight loss program. If you choose to use only one supplement, PGX is the most important for the program”.
There are a lot of companies that make PGX in capsule or powder form. I have better luck with the powder, in that I think it mixes with my food better (in my stomach) and works more efficiently. Here’s how to use it:
- Take it before every meal. Wean your way into it. This is important! If you’re not used to a lot of fiber, you can get cramps. You want to take one scoop before every meal, but start out with ½ scoop. Drink plenty of water, at least one glass with the fiber, and more during and after the meal. This is important! This fiber “sucks up” water and increases the amount of stool you have and it continues to absorb fiber, so keep drinking water.
- If you get cramps, skip a meal, but then get right back on it. If you are someone who has evening eating issues, have a glass of PGX/water and a small snack after dinner, this may help you control evening eating binges.
- If you can’t stand the texture (it’s like gelatin when you sprinkle it into a glass and stir it), drink it quickly before it starts absorbing the water. I pop it into a small glass, stir quickly and chug it down. Then, I follow it with a second glass of water. (Just be sure you drink all your water with it, 8 – 10 ounces). You can put some lemon juice in the water to avoid “tasting” it. It doesn’t have a smell once it’s expanded, but it does have a fishy smell when you first stir it in, and that’s because it has some seaweed fibers in it also.
You may have a few “adjustment days” with cramping, but if you drink a lot of water, and you aren’t constipated to begin with, it should be ok. If you get constipated, try using magnesium citrate to “move things along”.
It works! You just have to remember to take it with meals!