While fiber doesn't necessarily make for sexy dinner party conversation, it can do some pretty incredible things for your body. In fact, it's your secret weapon for losing weight and keeping it off.
Most people know that fiber plays a role in great gut health. But it also helps fill you up so you feel satisfied after meals. That goes a long way toward preventing late-afternoon grazing and midnight fridge raids. Fiber also suppresses ghrelin, the hormone that tells you when you're hungry. Translation? Eating more fiber means you can go longer between meals.
Fiber steadies your blood sugar so that insulin, your fat-storing hormone, doesn't get out of control. Eat a dinner high in fiber, and not only will you store less fat from your meal, you're also less likely to have sugar cravings that make you reach for that pint of Häagen-Dazs an hour later.
To get all of fiber's benefits, aim for 50 grams a day—but get there slowly! Gradually up your fiber by five grams every few days until you hit your target, and slow down if you have any digestive discomfort. Be sure to drink plenty of water every day, too.
Don't worry, your 50 gram goal doesn't have to mean taking up residence at the Whole Foods salad bar. Here are five easy ways to increase your fiber intake: