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Question: Why is fiber good for your diet and how does it help you lose weight?
- Callie, SC

Christine Palumbo, RD:
Studies suggest that people who eat diets that are fiber-rich weigh less than those donít. In fact, Tufts University research found that by upping dietary fiber from the current average of 15 grams a day to the 25 or 30 grams the US government recommends can provide a 5 to 6 pound weight loss over four months Ė without making any other changes. Fiber-rich foods help keep cholesterol in check, and smoothes out blood sugar levels throughout the day by slowing the absorption of food from the digestive tract. It also helps keep our digestive tract ďmovingĒ and may reduce colon cancer risk by shorting the time the intestinal lining is exposed to unwanted toxins.

Good sources of fiber include beans, oatmeal, oat bran, whole grain crackers, whole wheat breads and cereals, popcorn and most vegetables and fruits (especially berries). Donít worry about which contain soluble or insoluble fiber: those classifications are passť. Today itís believed that most foods contain both types of fiber.

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