Getting a good amount of fiber is one of the basic tactics that most thyroid patients need to follow in order to lose weight. Fiber has so many benefits for hypothyroid people trying to lose weight. With slowed digestion, and sometimes even constipation as a result, fiber can help promote regularity.
Fiber also slows the digestive process, and can help prevent dramatic swings in blood sugar. Fiber can help lower cholesterol. And, fiber can help you lose weight, because it fills you up, and may reduce your hunger levels.
As I wrote in my book, The Thyroid Diet
One study found that adding 14 grams per day of fiber was associated with a 10% decrease in energy intake and body, and weight loss of 5 pounds over 4 months. Dr. Levine's Ultimate Weight Loss Formula is $74.95 for a large canister, but it will typically last you a month or so, and while that sounds expensive, if you use it the right way, it will reduce your appetite, and you will truly eat less, so it evens out in the end. I like to use it in the morning as a smoothie, and as an afternoon snack. You can use it to help prevent snacking, to reduce the amount you eat during each meal, or mix up a shake as a zero-calorie but filling meal replacement (preferably lunch). Dr. Levines Ultimate Weight Loss Formula is calorie-free when mixed in water -- or if you prefer, mix it with skim milk or low-fat milk.
With 17 grams of fiber in each serving, this is the most fiber-intense drink mix you can find. With 0 calories, but packed with nutrition, it's a really excellent way to go high-fiber as part of your weight-loss effort. Go to Dr. Levine's site now to find out more and put in an order.
In another study, among a group of 53 women who were moderately overweight, following a 1200 calorie a day diet, over 24 weeks, half were given a fiber supplement, half received placebo. They were given 6 grams of fiber a day to start, down to 4 grams. After treatment, the fiber group lost a mean amount of 17.6 pounds versus 12.76 pounds in the placebo group.
Men up to 50 require 38 grams of fiber a day, and women need 25 grams. Men over 50 should get at least 30 grams and women at least 21 grams. The typical American diet, however, includes 10 grams a day or less of fiber. To get to the targeted level of fiber a day, you will probably have to add a fiber supplement, in addition to emphasizing fiber-rich foods. Start slow, don't go from “10 to 30” in one day -- you need to give your intestinal system time to adjust, and adding too much fiber too quickly can cause discomfort.
Some fiber supplements to consider include:
One of my favorite fiber products is “Dr. Levine’s Ultimate Weight Loss Formula.” Developed by internist Scott Levine, MD as a weight loss aid for his patients, the powdered formula makes a drink that contains five types of healthful fiber. It tastes fairly good (I’ve tried both the chocolate and raspberry flavors, and they’re fine, especially compared to trying to choke down a couple of spoonfuls of psyllium husks floating around in a glass of water!) Dr. Levine’s formula provides 17 grams of fiber in one serving, so if you use it, as he suggests, with a serving before both lunch and dinner, you will be getting 35 grams of fiber a day as your baseline.
- Psyllium – one study found that women who took 20 grams of psyllium before a meal ate less fat, and felt full more quickly during that meal, helping with weight reduction. Psyllium husk is found in Metamucil products.
- Guar gum – i.e., Benefiber, which dissolves with no grit or bulk into drinks
- FiberCon tablets, which use polycarbophil, a synthetic fiber (which has the filling and stool-softening effects of fiber, but may not lower cholesterol or blood sugar like other fibers)
According to Levine, many people who use his product lose 1.5 to 3 pounds per week without doing anything else differently, a result achieved because of reduction of food intake, combined with reduced insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, due to the increased fiber in the diet. Because Levine’s formula includes both soluble and insoluble fibers, it also has the various health benefits – including reduction of cholesterol. Says Levine:
The right kinds of fiber can be particularly helpful for insulin metabolism, especially in people who have even a few extra pounds around the middle. That abdominal weight gain – which drives increasing insulin levels, and is the start of the whole metabolic syndrome – can be helped by high-fiber consumption.
Important Warning: If you switch from a low-fiber to high-fiber diet, be very careful that you are getting your thyroid medicine at least an hour before eating in the morning, so your absorption is not impaired. High-fiber diets can change your dosage requirements, so 6-8 weeks after starting a high-fiber diet, you may wish to have your thyroid function tested to make sure you don't need a dosage change.
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