The #1 Nutrient You Must Eat and the 7 Best Ways To Get It

Fiber is not sexy. It will not become the hot conversation at your next dinner party. Almost guaranteed: Bring up fiber’s many benefits at your next coffee date and your friend will quickly change the subject.

But for fast, lasting fat loss and lots more, dietary fiber reigns supreme.

Too bad we’re not getting nearly enough.

One study titled "Trends in dietary fiber intake in the United States, 1999-2008," published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found the average person gets about 15 grams of fiber a day, well below the 25-38 grams recommended adequate intake for adults.

Among its numerous benefits, fiber can help you lose weight. That's because it helps slow down stomach emptying so you feel fuller longer.

Studies show fiber also suppresses your hunger hormone ghrelin and stabilizes blood sugar and insulin levels. It fills you up faster for fewer calories.

Those are among the reasons I call fiber a magic bullet for fast, lasting fat loss. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine supports this...

Researchers asked 240 participants to either eat fewer calories and follow the American Heart Association's diet or simply get more dietary fiber.

One year later, the fiber folks lost an average of 4.6 pounds, whereas the reduced-calorie group lost an average of 6 pounds. Impressive, considering the fiber group made no other dietary modifications.

To get fast, lasting fat loss and fiber's other benefits, I recommend my clients get 50 grams of fiber daily. Yes, 50.

Please don't do this all at once. Gradually increase your intake 5 grams a week until you've met that quota. I've got 7 easy ways to easily increase fiber intake:

  1. Non-starchy veggies. Leafy and cruciferous greens are nutrient and fiber powerhouses. Whether steamed, sautéed, or raw in salads, veggies definitely fall into the "more is better" category. 
  2. Berries. Every one of these low-sugar impact fruits are high in fiber, but raspberries reign supreme with eight grams of fiber per cup.
  3. Avocado. Along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and hard-to-get fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins K and E, one cup of avocado provides an impressive 10 grams – that’s 40 percent – of your day’s fiber intake. Plus it makes everything so much more delicious.
  4. Slow roasted or dehydrated almonds. Loaded with protein, healthy fats, and hard-to-get nutrients like magnesium, a quarter-cup of slow-roasted or dehydrated almonds provides three grams of fiber. Almond butter provides those same benefits. Smear a little bit on some celery for a decadent fiber wallop!
  5. Lentils. Most legumes are fiber-packed, but I especially love lentils because they’re so darn versatile and delicious. In his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Dr. Jonny Bowden notes one cup of lentils packs a whopping 16 grams, which officially makes them a fiber heavyweight.
  6. Freshly ground flaxseeds. Besides being an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), flaxseed is rich in anti-cancer lignans, and two tablespoons provides almost four grams of fiber.
  7. Extra Fiber. Even the most well intended, health-minded folks occasionally struggle to meet their 50-gram daily fiber quota. That’s why I never travel without Extra Fiber, a top-of-the-line powder that combines 12 different types of fiber to mimic what you get in high-fiber whole foods. Every serving contains an impressive four grams of fiber and mixes well into shakes, water, or any preferred beverage.

A protein shake becomes my favorite way to increase fiber intake, which provides you steady, sustained energy all morning. Adding avocado, frozen raspberries, raw kale (you won't taste it), and freshly ground flaxseed or Extra Fiber to my Paleo- or plant-based protein powder provides about 15-20 grams of fiber. Do one of these once or twice daily and you've almost hit your 50-gram quota.

What one high-fiber rock star would you add to this list? Knowing its many benefits, do you aim for more high-fiber foods?

1/9/2022 6:00:00 AM
JJ Virgin
Written by JJ Virgin
Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food intolerances and crushing their sugar cravings. She is author of New York Times Bestsellers The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose W...
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Share your success stories of adding fiber to your diet by posting a comment here; your story could help countless others.
Posted by Wellness Editor
Quinoa and chia seeds are very powerful contributors to dietary fiber intake
Posted by JoeC
What about good old fashioned "All Bran" cereal? It is very high fiber, low sugar, and you can sprinkle it into many different things. I have some with cottage cheese, almonds and shredded coconut for breakfast most days -- yum! My mom now puts it in yogurt and has noticed improved digestion.
Posted by Susan Kauffmann
Most of us know we should eat fiber, but this short article gives us facts to back up our decision to get more fiber daily. It is an encouragement to me, and I appreciate the clear, quick format!
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