<> <>
Health Hub

Fibre for weight loss: 12 high-fibre foods to add to your plate

Fibre can help you feel fuller for longer, ultimately leading you to eat less and stay satisfied.

12 High-Fibre Foods For Weight Loss | Juniper

The wellness industry loves a diet trend. From keto to paleo, intermittent fasting to Mediterranean-style eating, it can be paralysing trying to work out which one is best and sure to deliver results.

But when it comes to weight loss, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. There are simple swaps you can make that serve to support your weight loss journey, which is why we should all be eating more fibre. The term itself might conjure images of all-bran cereals and muffins that lack all flavour, but the reality is that fibre can be found in a number of foods. 

With its ability to slow the speed of digestion, fibre can help you feel fuller for longer, ultimately leading you to eat less and stay satisfied. With a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition showing that increased fibre intake helped subjects lose weight regardless of other factors in their diet, it’s safe to say that fibre is a food not to be ignored [1].

If you’re wanting to kickstart your weight loss journey, here are the high-fibre foods you should be adding to your plate.

What is fibre?

Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods. Unlike fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, the body actually can’t digest fibre.

There are 2 kinds of fibre: soluble fibres and insoluble. Soluble fibres hold water and help to slow digestion, helping you to feel fuller for longer. By keeping you satiated, fibre helps many to eat less, often leading to increased weight loss. That’s not all, though. Soluble fibre can also help lower cholesterol levels and stabilise blood sugar levels. It can be found in foods such as apples, carrots, beans, oats, and peas. 

Insoluble fibre is crucial to keeping you regular. As it doesn’t dissolve in water, it passes through the digestive system largely intact and adds bulk to the stool. This means it helps to keep us regular by promoting healthy bowel movements and preventing constipation. Good sources of insoluble fibre include wheat bran, nuts, cauliflower, brown rice, celery, and lentils. 

Increasing your intake of high-fibre foods isn’t just beneficial for a balanced diet, but it can also lead to a number of health benefits. These include reduced risk of chronic disease and cancer, as well as improved digestive health.

Is a high-fibre diet healthy?

A diet rich in high-fibre foods is considered healthy and balanced. By consuming a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibres from a wide range of sources, you’ll be able to reap a number of the benefits that come with high-fibre foods. 

Some advantages of including fibre in your diet include:

  • Improved digestive health
  • A reduced risk of developing conditions like diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and hemorrhoids
  • Improved heart health thanks to soluble fibre’s ability to lower cholesterol levels, which poses a risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Effective weight management, thanks to reduced overall calorie intake and a healthy gut microbiome

Foods rich in fibre also help with blood sugar control by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. And because many high-fibre foods are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they help to contribute to overall nutrient intake. 

How much fibre should you eat?

While the recommended daily intake for fibre can vary depending on factors like age and individual dietary needs, it’s recommended that adult women consume 21-25 grams of fibre per day, and adult men 30-38 grams. 

If you’re looking to increase your fibre intake, it’s important that you do so gradually. Adding too much fibre too quickly may cause gastrointestinal issues like gas and bloating. It’s suggested that you add 1 extra serving of 5 grams of fibre a day. Once your body has adjusted and is used to that amount, add another serving. Eventually, you want to get to a point where you are eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, with 5 grams of fibre at every meal or snack. 

Lastly, make sure you drink plenty of water, as adequate hydration is crucial for the proper functioning of fibre in the digestive system. 

Can you lose weight by eating high fibre?

Adding high-fibre foods to your diet can support your journey towards a healthy weight. By slowing down digestion, fibre takes up more space in your stomach compared to other nutrients. The result? It helps you to stay fuller for longer. This has a number of benefits when it comes to weight loss.

By helping you feel full, you'll likely consume fewer calories as a result. This is great news for those looking to kickstart their weight loss journey, as high-fibre foods can curb habits like compulsive snacking. By adding more fibre to your diet, you’re less likely to be hungry so soon after eating. 

According to a 2015 study published in Harvard's Annals of Internal Medicine, aiming to eat 30 grams of fibre each day can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve your body's response to insulin just as effectively as a more complex diet [3].

Fibre also helps with our digestive health and stabilises blood sugar levels. By reducing the severity or frequency of energy crashes, you’re less likely to find yourself reaching for high-sugar, calorie-dense foods. A high-fibre diet also makes it easier to stick to a weight loss plan as it helps to promote regular bowel movements. 

Soluble vs insoluble fibre: Which one is best for weight loss?

Both soluble and insoluble fibre should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, and not surprisingly, both also have their benefits when it comes to weight loss.

According to reports in a 2018 study published in Nutrition, when individuals focused simply on increasing the amount of fibre and lean protein in their diet, they ate fewer calories and were able to lose weight [2].

In recent years, though, soluble fibre has been the focus of most research regarding weight loss. This is due to the fact that when it mixes with water in our body, it becomes a gel-like consistency that helps slow down digestion. So, if you’ve consumed soluble fibre only to find yourself feeling fuller for longer after eating, this is why!

12 high-fibre foods for weight loss

Incorporating high-fibre foods into your diet doesn't require a complete overhaul.

In fact, it might surprise you how many of your favourite nutritious foods already contain soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. When it comes to eating more fibre for weight loss, you want to reach for those foods that will help you feel satisfied while eating fewer calories.

Here are 12 fibre-rich foods that not only provide valuable nutrients and good gut bacteria but also serve to promote a healthy diet while supporting your weight loss.

1. Whole grains

An excellent source of dietary fibre, incorporating whole grains into your diet can also help to provide essential nutrients. Consider foods like oats containing soluble and insoluble fibre, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, barley, bulgar, farro, and millet.

From breakfast cereals to a hearty lentil soup, whole grains are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into a number of dishes. They offer a range of nutrients and flavours and are an exceptional choice for their high-fibre content.

2. Fruits

When it comes to high-fibre foods, fresh fruits are an excellent choice as they are easy to enjoy as a snack or incorporate with breakfast. A natural source of dietary fibre, opt for fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries, which provide around 8 grams of fibre per cup and are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

Pears are also known for their high-fibre content, with 5.5 grams of fibre in a medium-sized pear. Eat the whole fruit and leave the skin on to reap the benefits of maximum fibre content. The same can also be said for apples.

3. Vegetables

An essential part of a healthy diet, vegetables are fibre-rich and offer numerous health benefits. Great options include artichokes which are one of the highest-fibre vegetables when cooked, offering 7 grams per medium-sized artichoke.

Brussel sprouts, broccoli, lentils, raw carrots, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage are also great options.

4. Legumes

An excellent source of dietary fibre, legumes also provide vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Lentils are one of the most fibre-rich legumes, with 15 to 16 grams of dietary fibre per cooked cup.

Other great options include black beans, chickpeas, navy beans, split peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, and edamame.

5. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are particularly good for those looking to avoid processed foods and opt instead for fibre-rich options. Along with a range of health benefits, nuts and seeds are a great source of fibre, while also being high in healthy fats and protein.

Consider options like almonds, which contain about 3.5 grams of fibre per 28 grams, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and cashews. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds are also great options, while flaxseeds offer 8 grams of fibre per 2 tablespoons.

6. Avocado

Consuming fruits in their whole, unprocessed form can help you achieve a balanced diet.

Along with providing essential nutrients, avocado is unique in that it provides healthy fats and fibre. In a medium-sized avocado, you can expect to consume around 9 grams of fibre.

7. Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts provide about 4 grams of dietary fibre per cooked cup, making them an excellent source of dietary fibre. They also contribute to digestive health and offer vitamins C and K.

8. Whole grain cereals

Whole grain cereals make for a satisfying breakfast or snack option. Their high-fibre content makes them excellent for weight loss as they help you feel satisfied so you don't go reaching for the snacks immediately after. Options like oatmeal, bran cereals, whole wheat cereals, muesli, and high-fibre granola are great options.

Though high in fibre, it's important to ensure that when shopping for whole grain cereals, you look for those that contain minimal added sugars and have whole grains listed as the first ingredient.

9. Chia seeds

Much like other seed varieties, chia seeds are a great source of fibre. They provide around 10 grams of fibre per ounce, while also being rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

The best part? There are a number of ways to add chia seeds onto your plate, whether that's sprinkled over breakfast cereals, a topping for yoghurt bowls, or being used in puddings and smoothies.

10. Berries

Versatile and easy to enjoy in a number of ways and dishes, berries are a great source of fibre you should be adding to your plate. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds, fibre-rich options include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, and goji berries.

11. Split peas

This fibre-rich legume is packed with nutrients. If you're not familiar with split peas, they're a type of field pea that's been dried and split in half, meaning they cook a lot quicker. Hailing in both green and yellow varieties, green split peas provide approximately 16 grams of dietary fibre per cooked cup. Yellow split peas, meanwhile, offer 15 grams of dietary fibre per cooked cup.

Low in fat and containing no cholesterol, split peas help prevent digestive issues and promote regular bowel movements. They're a heart-healthy food that prevents heart disease and enhances overall health when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

12. Popcorn

You might think of it as a sweet treat, but it turns out popcorn is one snack that isn't just tasty — it is also packed with fibre. When prepared in a healthy way (hold the excess butter and oil), popcorn is a fibre-rich snack that offers about 3.5-4 grams per serving. It's also low in calories and contains some vitamins and minerals, making it a satisfying and healthy snack (perfect even if you count calories).

Who should avoid high-fibre foods?

For most, dietary fibre is beneficial and plays an important role in not only providing essential nutrients but also maintaining overall health. While increasing your fibre intake can certainly aid in weight loss, there are certain individuals for whom increasing the fibre in their diet may not be beneficial or should be limited temporarily.

For those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, high-fibre foods may lead to greater discomfort or a worsening of symptoms.

Similarly, some cancer treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy can lead to digestive issues, for which case most patients are advised to follow a low-fibre diet.

If you have undergone an operation recently for gastrointestinal surgeries, it's also often recommended that you temporarily follow a low-fibre diet to allow the digestive tract to heal. Before certain medical procedures like a colonoscopy, a low-fibre diet may be required, too.

Having said this, these restrictions are often temporary and should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional or dietitian. For most, a diet high in fibre is beneficial and plays an important role in managing weight, reducing the risk of various chronic diseases, and maintaining digestive health.

How can you use fibre for weight loss?

Incorporating fibre-rich foods into your diet is a great step towards losing weight.

Aside from being important for our overall health, fibre-rich foods contain a number of essential nutrients and can help you consume fewer calories by helping you feel satisfied.

However, it's important to remember that simply adding more fibre to your plate doesn't guarantee you'll hit your weight loss goals. As anyone on the weight loss journey can attest, there are a number of factors that come into play, including lifestyle, activity levels, genetics, and age.

While eating fibre can certainly be important in managing weight, if you want to achieve long-term success, consider Juniper's Weight Reset Programme. Not only do we offer breakthrough medication to kick-start your journey but you'll also receive hands-on support to make the lifestyle changes required to lose weight. In fact, you'll gain access to certified UK clinicians, ready to help you every step of the way.

Whether you're looking to kickstart your weight loss journey or break habits that might be holding you back from hitting your goal weight, Juniper's Weight Reset Programme can help you achieve those weight loss goals sooner, and stick to them for the long term.