The South Beach Diet has always been a fiber-rich plan, designed to encourage eating plenty of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Why the emphasis on fiber? A high-fiber diet can help normalize your blood-sugar levels, improve your cholesterol, regulate your bowel function, keep you from feeling hungry, and help you stay on track with your weight loss.
How Much Fiber?
"Fiber plays an important role in long-term health," says Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet Supercharged and more recently, The South Beach Wake-Up Call, "but as a society, we don't consume nearly enough. According to some statistics, Americans eat only 12 to 17 grams per day when they should be getting 25 to 30 grams."
What Kind of Fiber Is Best?
There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. It's important to consume both types for good health. Soluble fiber helps regulate blood-sugar levels by delaying the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream, and it improves cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol as well. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, which promotes regularity. Most foods contain both types of fiber, but oats, nuts, beans, and fruit contain predominantly soluble fiber, while whole grains and vegetables contain more insoluble fiber.
How Do You Know You’re Getting Enough?
Fortunately, if you're eating the South Beach Diet way, you don't need to count fiber grams or worry about whether you're meeting your fiber needs: The program is doctor-designed to ensure that you're reaping the benefits of a fiber-rich meal plan.