Fiber is an essential component of any healthy diet. It keeps your gut healthy, helps regulate blood sugar, and allows you to stay fuller longer–all of which contributes to healthy weight loss. However, many of the foods you may be eating every day don’t offer very much fiber at all, making them poor choices for your overall health, especially if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. In fact, there’s one popular breakfast food you may be eating regularly that could be holding you back from your weight loss goals.
To learn more about the low-fiber foods that you should stop eating over 40 if you want a slimmer waistline, we spoke to health experts Onyx Adegbola, MD, Ph.D, founder of Casa de Sante, and Allison Sizemore, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Online Coach from Couture Fitness Coaching. They told us that processed foods, namely sugary breakfast cereal, should be avoided as much as possible. Learn more below!
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Sugary breakfast cereal and other processed foods
When it comes to low-fiber foods, processed, refined options are oftentimes the worst culprits. “These types of foods contain empty calories that can lead to weight gain, as they are high in sugar and unhealthy fats,” Dr. Adegbola says. “Additionally, these types of foods are often low in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can leave you feeling unsatisfied despite eating
more than necessary.” She notes that eating these foods will likely cause blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day, along with cravings for more unhealthy foods–it’s a vicious cycle that certainly won’t do you any favors if you’re trying to lose weight.
As far as the worst processed low-fiber foods, Sizemore puts sugary breakfast cereal at the top of the list. “Eating cereal like this, especially alone with no protein or added fiber, can cause a spike in glucose, which can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance over time,” she warns.
Of course, you’ll likely run into instances where you’re going to eat some low-fiber foods. Sizemore offers up some advice for when you’re in this situation: “If you must eat a lower fiber food, try to pair it with protein and healthy fat plus some fiber to keep blood sugar more stable and to help keep you full for longer,” she concludes.
Importance of fiber over 40
At the end of the day, getting enough fiber in your diet is essential–and it should especially be a priority if you’re trying to lose weight over 40. “Eating enough fiber is important for weight loss at any age, but especially so for people over 40,” Dr. Adegbola says. “Fiber helps to keep us full longer, which can make it easier to eat less and thus lose weight. Additionally, fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels that can lead to cravings and overeating.” She points out that ample fiber is also essential for keeping your digestive system healthy and reducing bloating, since it can help reduce inflammation in the gut.
The best way to ensure you’re getting enough fiber is to fill your plate with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats–and whenever possible, avoid processed foods like sugary breakfast cereal. Your body will thank you!