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High Fiber Low Fat Diet

The collage of young beautiful woman with vegetable salad

The first person to create an awareness about the importance of fiber in one’s daily diet was an Irish surgeon named Denis Parsons Burkitt. His book, “Don’t Forget Fibre in Your Diet” which was published in 1979, was an international best-seller. Later, in 1980s, Audrey Eyton published “F-Plan” based on Burkitt’s works. While Burkitt’s book suggested the diet be adopted as a way of eating, Eyton promoted it as a solution to weight loss. Later in 2006, she came up with a revised version of the diet plan called ‘F2 Diet’ which claimed to be more effective than the F-Plan diet.

Popularized by fitness experts and nutritionists, a diet high in fiber and low in fat, is essential for those wanting to follow a healthy lifestyle. It is also a good option for those who want to ward off obesity and is especially beneficial for those suffering from disorders like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. So let’s find out what makes a diet rich in dietary fiber so beneficial.

The High Fiber Low Fat Diet Plan

The diet plans will differ according to what the diet is aiming at. The low fat high fiber diet is not only a healthy eating diet plan, but can also be used to lose weight. It is also helpful for those who are suffering from Type 2 diabetes, diverticulitis, menopausal symptoms, and to prevent Parkinson’s disease and colon cancer. So, it is always advisable to consult a dietitian. He/she will be able to design a personalized diet plan according to your requirements. In this article, we talk about the diet plan as something that can be adopted as a way of eating.

When following this diet plan, the idea is to incorporate low-fat sources of fiber in your daily diet. Various soups and juices can also be added. Beverages are limited to black and green tea. It is also recommended that you drink a lot of water. At least eight glasses of water should be consumed each day to avoid constipation.

Benefits of Consuming High Fiber

Fiber is found in all types of plant food like veggies, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Unlike other nutrients, fiber doesn’t provide the body with energy. It does not break down into glucose but just passes through the digestive tract. This makes your stool bulkier, making it easier to pass.

Eating fiber also makes you feel full for a long time thereby reducing your appetite. What basically happens is that your brain needs almost 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full. Fibrous foods take a longer time to chew. This increases your eating time, giving the body some time to know that it is full, thereby reducing your chances of over-eating. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber (found in nuts, seeds, beans, oatmeal, legumes, berries, barley, etc.) dissolves in water to form a gel that helps in slowing down the digestion process. This action helps in reducing the cholesterol, as well as keeps the blood sugar levels balanced.

Insoluble fiber (found in leafy vegetables, whole wheat, corn, flaxseed, etc.) does not dissolve in water. This is the kind of fiber which moves through our intestines undigested. It makes your stool bulkier which is especially helpful for people suffering from constipation and diarrhea.

Benefits of Consuming Low Fat

Good sources of fats include milk and milk products, sea food, nuts, olives and flax seeds and should be consumed everyday. Sources of trans fats or saturated fats like red meat, deep-fried foods, biscuits, cakes and pastries should be avoided.

Contrary to common belief, fats are just as necessary for the body as other nutrients. You need to consume fats to have a lean body, healthy heart and liver, shiny hair and a beautiful skin. They lubricate your joints, act as an anti-aging agent, prevent loss of body heat, transport fat soluble vitamins and help you sharpen your brain.

So, why do fats have such a bad reputation? It is because, although small amount of fats is necessary for the normal functioning of the body, eating fats in a large amount causes major health problems like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, etc. One gram of fat contains almost 9 calories and hence, should be consumed judiciously to avoid health risks.

In short, eating a high fiber low fat diet has the following benefits:
♦ Helpful for people with digestive disorders
♦ Helpful for people with diabetes
♦ Helpful for people with diverticulitis
♦ Helps prevent colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases
♦ Aids in weight loss and helps in maintaining a healthy weight

Side Effects (If fiber is consumed in excess)

♦ Indigestion
♦ Heartburn
♦ Fluid retention
♦ Gas
♦ Stomach cramps

Who should not follow this diet?

♦ People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
♦ People suffering from kidney failure
♦ Pregnant and lactating women
♦ Children

Meal Options

Here are a few options to help you plan a high fiber low fat diet plan:

Breakfast:
♦ 1 bowl of oatmeal cereal with 1 apple (with skin) and 1 glass orange juice
♦ ½ cup berries with ¾ cup raisin bran
♦ 1 medium banana/orange with 1 cup oatmeal
♦ 2 slices of whole wheat bread with 1 egg

Lunch:
♦ Green salad with whole wheat chicken/vegetable sandwich and 1 cup pinto beans
♦ ½ cup chickpeas, 2 slices of whole wheat bread and 1 cup low-fat yogurt
♦ Vegetable salad with ½ cup pasta and 1 oz. chicken
♦ 1 medium carrot, ½ cup rice and 1 cup lentils

Snacks:
♦ 1 whole wheat English muffin
♦ 3 cups popcorn
♦ 1 oz. almonds
♦ 1 oz. peanuts

Dinner:
♦ Vegetable salad, half cup spinach or broccoli, ½ cup whole wheat rice
♦ 1 cup tomato soup, 1 cup whole wheat spaghetti and ½ cup baked beans
♦ ½ cup beef/pork, ½ cup rice and 1 oz. low fat cheese
♦ Green salad, 1 oz. shellfish and 1 dinner roll

Dessert:
♦ ½ cup fresh fruit salad
♦ ½ cup milk pudding
♦ 2 vanilla wafers
♦ ½ cup Jello

A Few Recipes

Apple Oat-Bran Muffins

Ingredients
♦ 1 tablespoon olive oil
♦ 2 large green cooking apples
♦ 1¼ cups oat bran
♦ 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
♦ 1 cup white flour
♦ 1 teaspoon cinnamon
♦ 1 can apple juice concentrate
♦ 1 cup water
♦ ½ tsp nutmeg
♦ 2½ tsp baking soda

Method
Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Peel, core and chop the green apples and keep aside. In a large bowl, mix the pastry flour, white flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and oat bran. Mix and stir well. Then, add the apple juice, water and chopped apples to the mixture and work into a thick batter. Grease the muffin pan with some olive oil, pour the batter into the grooves, bake for around 30 minutes and serve hot. This can be a good option for breakfast.

Bean and Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients
♦ 1 pound canned black beans, drained
♦ ½ cup processed cheese
♦ 1 cup salsa
♦ 4 sandwich buns, cut in half lengthwise
♦ ¼ cup recipe-ready crushed tomatoes
♦ ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Method
Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Using a blender, mix together the tomatoes, cumin and beans and blend well until smooth. Sauté this mixture in a pan and keep aside. Add cheese, mix well and keep aside. Remove a little of the center of the sandwich bun and fill it with the mixture. Repeat for all the sandwich buns. Place the buns in the oven and bake for around 5 minutes. Serve hot for lunch with salsa.

Black Beans and Couscous

Ingredients
♦ 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
♦ 1 cup raw couscous
♦ 1 tsp baking soda
♦ 6-8 cloves minced garlic
♦ 2 tsp oregano
♦ 1 tsp cumin
♦ 1 tsp salt
♦ 1 tsp pepper

Method
Steam the couscous and keep aside. Place beans and bay leaves in a saucepan with some water and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and add the garlic, pepper, cumin and oregano. Simmer until the beans have softened and then add the baking soda and salt. Stir, mix well and serve the couscous with the cooked black beans for dinner.

When you start following this diet, make sure that you don’t consume excessive fiber and neither do you cut out fats completely. Plus, it is also important to include other important nutrients in your diet. The body needs a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and a good amount of sleep to maintain its overall health. It will not only make you physically fit, but will also benefit your mental and emotional well-being.

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