The vegan diet and weight gain part 3

A good vegan diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and wholegrains should supply plently of fibre. Even so some new vegans may not be getting enough fibre if their diet is based on processed vegan meats and cheese, white bread, pasta etc.  The average recommended intake for adults is 18g.
There are two types of fibre: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.  Soluble fibre forms a gel with water in the stomach and slows down digestion.  Soluble fibre can also prevent cholesterol in your diet from being absorbed, helping to prevent high cholesterol.   Foods high in soluble fibre include oats, quinoa, peas, beans, nuts, flaxseed, lentils and apple.  Insoluble fibre however is equally important in your diet.  It provides 'roughage' to prevent constipation and is found in wholegrains and vegetables.
So how does fibre help maintain a healthy weight?  High fibre foods take longer to chew so that the message that you have eaten enough has time to reach your brain.   High fibre foods also tend to be lower calorie options so that you can feel satisfied without eating more calories than you need.  
Further soluble fibre forms a gel with water which also helps you feel full.  Also because this gel slows digestion blood sugar does not  'spike'  then 'dip' which is another hunger signal.  
Foods high in  insoluble fibre prevent constipation and bloating which can be demotivating especially if you are trying to lose weight.  One of the ways in which fibre does this, is to draw water into the gut and this helps move the contents of the gut along.  It is important therefore on a high fibre diet to drink plenty.  Here are some ways to increase the fibre content of your diet:-  

  • Include home made vegetable, bean or lentil soups in your diet and make casseroles using these ingredients
  • Include grated vegetables in pasta sauces
  • Replace fruit juices with whole fruits (lower GI too) and snack on fruit
  • Have a side salad with your main meal as well as vegetables
  • Eat wholegrain pasta, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrain cereals,quinoa, etc
  • Include nuts and seeds in your diet, maybe snack on almonds, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads or flaxseed on your cereal.
You might want to read the articles below alongside this article.
The vegan diet and weight gain Part 2-

Happy eating
Janet x

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