The Relationship between Fiber, Water, and Fullness

Similar to the article about calorie-density, this article relates to fullness as well. Dietary fiber is found in many foods; some foods have lots of it, and others none at all. Dietary fiber (or just “fiber” for the sake of brevity), exists in two forms: soluble and non-soluble. Soluble fiber transforms into a gel-like substance while it passes through the gastrointestinal system (or simply put, the gut). Non-soluble fiber tends not to deform much past the chewing process. Think of corn, it leaves the body not too differently than how it enters. While corn does contain some absorbable energy, its fibrous structure does not.

Fiber, while completely edible, contains zero digestible calories. The human body cannot breakdown the chemical bonds that exist in fiber molecules. Since fiber cannot be broken down in the gut, no energy is released from fiber after it is eaten. Remember, energy is measured in calories.

Fiber adds volume to the food-matter being digested in the gut. Water adds volume to fiber in the gut. Therefore, fiber and water add significant volume to food-matter being digested in the gut. Why is volume important? Because the larger the amount of food-matter in your gut, the more your sensory cells tell you that you are full. Not feeling full enough after meals is a common complaint people have when attempting to lose weight. By increasing your consumption of water and fiber, you can ensure a better sensation of fullness throughout the day.

Foods high in fiber:

► Broccoli

►~11.5 grams of fiber per 150 calorie serving

► Sweet potatoes (with skin)  

► ~5.5 grams of fiber per 150 calorie serving

► Sprouted bread         

► ~5.5 grams of fiber per 150 calorie serving

► Lentils

► Vegetables, in general, are high in fiber

Whole (or “whole-er”) foods tend to contain more fiber than processed foods

► For example, 2 slices of sprouted bread contains ~6 grams of fiber, while 2 slices of white bread contains ~1.5 grams of fiber

► Processed foods are often stripped of their fibrous content during their processing

Bottom line: Increasing your intake of fiber and water promotes the sensation of fullness by expanding the volume of food-matter traveling through your gut. Since fiber and water have zero calories, you will feel fuller more quickly while eating fewer calories.