Fill Up With Fiber to Down Size

If you’re frustrated with your inability to maintain or lose weight or do not feel nourished by the food you are eating, check out the following keys to natural appetite control from Dr. Barnard’s 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart.  You may be surprised that by following these recommendations, there’s no need to count calories or measure portions.

1. Bulk up on fiber.Fiber_Rich_Foods

Target 40 grams of fiber per day.  Fiber is plant roughage, and there is no plant roughage in animals or oils.  Accomplish 40 g fiber/day by meal planning and embracing an “eat this” approach instead of thinking about what you shouldn’t eat.  Here’s a sample daily food plan that gets you well over 40 grams of fiber:

  • Breakfast – 1 cup cooked oatmeal (4g fiber) topped with ½ cup fruit (2 g fiber) and 1 cup orange juice (1g fiber)
  • Snack – 1 medium sized apple, orange, or banana (3 g fiber)
  • Lunch – Salad with 4 cups of lettuce (8 g fiber) topped with  1 cup veggies (4 g fiber) and a baked potato with the skin (4 g fiber)
  • Snack – 1 piece of whole grain bread (2 g fiber) and 1 cup of fruit (4 g fiber)
  • Dinner – 2 cups of brown rice (6 g fiber) with ½ cup of lentils (7 g fiber) and 1 cup of cooked vegetables (4 g fiber)

In addition to high fiber intake being consistently associated with lower rates of colon and rectal cancer, fiber soaks up undesirable toxins and excess hormones in the intestinal tract and carries them out as waste.Campbell and Campbell; Barnard and Reilly  Not to mention that fiber fills you up!!  Long before you’ve eaten the number of calories in a burger and fries, the fiber from a diet rich in legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains will signal to your brain that you’re full.  And there’s no need to count calories or restrict portion size.

2. Rev up your metabolism by omitting fatty foods, such as meat, dairy, and oils.no_meat

Animals are just like humans in that extra calories are stored as fat.  When you eat animal meat (and hence animal fat), no matter how ‘lean’ the meat is, it contains fat.  One gram of fat holds 9 calories, whereas one gram of carbohydrate or protein holds only 4 calories.  Even Atlantic salmon and skinless white meat chicken (3.5 oz servings), both regarded in the Standard American Diet as being ‘healthy’, are 40% and 23% fat, respectively.  A boiled egg and 2 ounces of cheddar cheese are 61% and 74% fat, respectively.  On the other hand, broccoli is 4% fat and contains 3 g fiber (1 cup cooked), and lentils are 3% fat and contain 8 g fiber (1/2 cup cooked).Barnard and Wyrick

By eliminating animal products and significant fat from your diet, there’s much more room for whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.  And because these whole foods are so much lower in calories, you will feel full without worrying about portion control.  Sometimes it may even seem like a chore with all the chewing you’ll need to do to ingest anywhere close to your normal caloric load.

Eating a whole food, plant-based diet actually changes your cellular biochemistry.  High levels of intramyocellular lipids (fat droplets inside muscle cells) impede the work of insulin and the ability of cells to utilize glucose as energy.  It’s the build-up of intramyocellular lipids that leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, which is why a whole food, plant based diet can reverse type 2 diabetes.

Normally the cellular mitochondria metabolize some of the fat you eat, but when you consume too much fat, the mitochondria cannot keep up.  There’s also evidence that high fat diets turn down the genes that regulate mitochondria. Sparks et al  Not only are the existing mitochondria unable to burn significant portions of consumed fat, but mitochondria seem to be down regulated as intramyocellular lipids increase.

The way to rev up your metabolism is to omit fatty foods from your diet – this reduces intramyocellular lipids, ensures cells can transport and utilize glucose efficiently, and ensures mitochondria are present and working efficiently to burn fat.

In addition to eliminating animal products, if your goal is weight loss, limit or eliminate nuts, nut butters, seeds, and avocados until you’ve reached your ideal mass.  Or use small amounts as condiments or in sauces.  One ounce of out of hand nuts can easily turn into a few ounces or a daily snack habit and sabotage weight loss.

In addition to planning your meals and snacks in advance, remember that it takes 21 days to adjust your taste buds.  You may miss junk food, but once you’ve lost weight, you won’t miss those pounds.



Barnard ND, Wyrick, J. 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health. 2011

Campbell TC, Campbell TM. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health. 2006

Sparks LM, Xie H, Koza RA, et al. A high-fat diet coordinately downregulates genes required for mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skeletal muscle. Diabetes 2005; 54:1926-1933.

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