Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Fiber: Nature's Weight Loss Secret

An interview with Brenda Watson

Considered a hindrance to good nutrition as recently as the 1970s, today dietary fiber is making a remarkable comeback as an essential fact of good health and good looks. Thanks to Brenda Watson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine in Dunedin, Florida, fiber is fast becoming a household word based on its wide spectrum of benefits. Benefits that include surprising weight loss. TV specials based on her current best-selling book, The Fiber35 Diet, are a hit with Public Broadcasting System audiences. This month she shares her helpful perspective with Natural Awakenings readers.

Q Why did you include so many tools for attaining optimum health in your book when you could have focused only on the many benefits of fiber?

When I finished writing all the exciting facts about fiber, I realized that I didn’t want to make it seem like the miracle answer for good health. An optimum health toolbox contains several elements because it’s about balance. Numerous factors must work in unison for the overall good of the body. In other words, the recipe needs all the ingredients to turn out a tasty dish. From experience I know that individuals need options. So I offer practical, doable advice in seven aspects that affect health—strength training, cardiovascular exercise, nutrition, supplements, hormones, metabolism, detoxification and dietary fiber intake. Realistically speaking, I expect that given today’s typical busy pace, people will probably choose to begin with two or three of these.

Q Among all the aspects outlined in your program, which are the first must-do’s?

Eat a minimum of 35 grams of soluble fiber daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, drink plenty of water, eat every three to four hours to boost metabolism, and walk.

Q What are the major benefits of eating at least 35 grams of fiber a day?

A high-fiber diet that includes both soluble and insoluble fiber helps to prevent and fight against some of the most common and most serious health concerns of our time. For example, for every additional 10 grams of soluble fiber ingested, the instance of developing heart disease and high blood pressure decreases 14 percent and the possibility of developing diabetes drops 26 percent. Fiber is also one of Mother Nature’s secrets for controlling weight. Fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and fortified foods, beans and legumes are good sources of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin.

Q You mention a choice of two mindsets with which to approach weight loss: (1) eat healthy, exercise and detox to maximize quality of life and lengthen one’s life span and (2) dieting to look good. Please explain the differences.

Dieting to look good is predictably about improving self-esteem. When individuals lose weight and look better, they generally feel better about themselves. Eating healthy with the overall goal of maximizing quality of life and lengthening life span has more of a long-term impact. Typically people begin altering their eating and exercise habits to lose weight and look good. After they shed some pounds and drop a clothes size, they get even more motivated and begin to think in terms of a lasting quality of life possibly free of prescription medications.

Q How did you discover the magic number of 35 grams of fiber?

Imagine me, a professional in the field of nutrition, gaining 30 pounds between the ages of 42 and 48! It happened because of lack of awareness and because I was traveling and lecturing and eating on the road. In brief, I was consuming too much protein and far less fiber than I needed. I might as well have been a member of a study group who was given a plate of food and asked to guess the total number of calories. Every person there guessed 450 calories, one-half of the actual 1,100. Not until a client pointed out that I’d packed on weight, did it dawn on me that I needed to alter my own diet. At the same time I began researching weight management I was working with a small group of clients suffering from chronic constipation and helping to develop a recipe for a fiber snack bar. So I gave sample bars to my clients, suggesting that they add the bar’s 14 grams of fiber to their diets, and then followed my own advice. The results were shocking. Simply by adding 14 more grams of fiber to a diet that already contained 21 grams, members of the study group were able to stop using colon cleanses. The irrefutable evidence in front of my eyes further fueled my research on fiber. The bottom-line is that educating yourself on fat, calorie, fiber and protein counts brings the kind of awareness to the table that can translate into success.

Q What does 35 grams of fiber have to do with weight management?

Elimination is about amount, not just frequency. People typically associate eating fiber with one daily bowel movement. This is far from sufficient. The colon is five feet long, nearly as long as a person is tall. The amount of fecal matter eliminated during the day should equal that contained in the entire left side of the colon. Known as the descending colon, this area is usually a little less than 12 inches long. Whatever matter remains contributes to weight gain and adds toxicity to the body. Fiber corrects the problem and keeps everything moving. Basically, fiber absorbs calories that are passed out through the stool. One gram of fiber can absorb seven calories. Eating 35 grams of fiber daily and drinking eight glasses of water flushes out 245 calories. Making a habit of this, an average person could easily lose two pounds a month, or about 26 pounds in a year. For those who don’t like to drink a lot of water, I suggest substituting several glasses of herbal tea. Adding liquid chlorophyll and aloe juice to water are other options.

For more info visit Source: by Linda Sechrist

Join Our Email List

Receive Digital Magazine and Special Offers

* indicates required
Email Format

Receive Digital Magazine, Special Offers and Advertising Information

* indicates required
Email Format
Global Brief
Health Brief