Surprising Fruits That Have Almost Zero Fiber

Most Americans need to get more fiber in their diets. According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, only 1 in 20 people in the U.S. eat enough fiber every day.

There are some people, however, that have the opposite problem. They have to limit certain types of fiber in their diet to prevent painful health problems. This can be very tricky because it means finding a careful balance between nutritious natural foods and low-fiber options.

Why Do Some People Need To Control Fiber Levels?

Fiber plays an important role in gut health and digestion, softening stool, lowering cholesterol levels and balancing blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, some health conditions are sensitive to fiber:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis (an inflammatory condition of the colon)

Sometimes, your doctor will tell you to follow a low-fiber diet after surgery or before a colonoscopy. Make sure to ask your doctor before reducing the amount of fiber you eat.

What Kind of Fruit Is Low in Fiber?

The purpose of eating less fiber for a while is to give your colon a chance to rest and heal. After that, you can usually go back to eating a normal amount of fiber. Here are the best fruits to eat while following a low-fiber diet:

  • Watermelons: 0.8 g (1 cup)
  • Papayas: 2.5 g (1 cup)
  • Cantaloupes: 1.3 g (1 cup)
  • Peaches: 1.7 g (1 peach)
  • Plums: 1.0 g (1 plum)
  • Cherries: 1.3 g (10 cherries)
  • Nectarines: 2.2 g (1 nectarine)

Real fruit juices (not the concentrated stuff with added sugar) without pulp are another great source of vitamins. These juices have next to no fiber.

What Type of Fiber Should You Limit With IBS?

If you have IBS, you don’t need to rush to cut all fiber from your diet. It’s smart to talk to your doctor first. In reality, you may not need to cut many fruits or veggies out of your diet at all.

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It’s there to help your gut and smooth things out. People who have IBS need more soluble fiber, not less. Where can you get it?

  • Low-FODMAP veggies: Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, bell peppers, avocados and olives
  • Low-FODMAP fruits: Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, kiwis, cantaloupes and honeydew melons
  • Cooked/sauteed greens: Bok choy, spinach, arugula, collard greens and cabbage

On the other hand, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve; it’s the roughage that pushes waste through the intestines. For people who have IBS, insoluble fiber can sometimes trigger symptoms such as pain and bloating.

How Long Should You Follow a Low-Fiber Diet?

Normally, you should only limit fiber intake for as long as your doctor tells you. If you're recovering from a specific surgery, for example, you may follow a low-fiber diet for about a month. After that, go back to eating good levels of fiber so your digestive system stays happy and healthy.

In the case of IBS, it's not a question of following hard and fast rules. You need plenty of fiber normally, but you also want to avoid flareups. Usually, you need to discover which foods trigger problems personally and look for healthy alternatives. If you're sensitive to raspberries, eat cranberries or blueberries instead.

Macchiato Versus Latte: Which Drink Is Healthier?

When discussing the differences in espresso-based coffee beverages, it is essential to understand the problem of viewing those differences through an American lens. Most American coffee shops will have interpretations of standard espresso-based drinks. Still, when you look at popular chains, such as Starbucks, there is little difference between a macchiato and a latte. However, there should be a significant difference between these two drinks, and there is a noticeable one when visiting coffee shops in Rome or Venice. 

Therefore, to help compare the differences between a macchiato and a latte, it is crucial to examine the drinks from an aficionado's perspective. It is necessary to look at the drinks by definition and benefits.

What Is a Macchiato?

A macchiato is an espresso-based drink. What sets it apart from other coffee beverages is that it uses only a little milk or milk foam. In traditional shops, a macchiato will only consist of two ingredients: a shot of espresso and a splash of steamed milk. 

Because the drink only uses a little milk, it tends to have a more robust flavor than other milk-based espresso drinks. Additionally, because the beverage only has two ingredients, customers tend to get a smaller portion, typically 1 1/4 oz. 

Nutritional Information 

The size of the drink and its minimal use of milk play a substantial role in the beverage's caloric content and other nutritional factors. The minimal use of milk results in fewer calories than other espresso-based drinks, making it a healthier option for those who do not like black coffee.

Caffeine 

Depending on the size of your macchiato, the drink might have around 80 mg or more of caffeine. As most American portions are larger than traditional servings, a macchiato might have as many as 120 mg.

Benefits

Macchiato has several potential benefits. While most coffee drinkers will know that regular coffee has several health benefits, they can underestimate the advantages of this espresso-based drink. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Blood pressure control 
  • Increased or improved concentration 
  • Improved energy and feelings of wellness 

However, as beneficial as a macchiato can be in moderation, drinking too much can lead to problems. It is necessary to find a balance, so you do not overindulge.

What Is a Latte?

The common term for a latte is a Caffe latte or translated as a milk coffee. The drink calls for topping espresso with steamed milk, followed by foamed or frothed milk. It is a creamier concoction. 

Because of the construction of a latte, coffee shops can offer several varieties of the drink, such as caramel or chocolate. Additionally, baristas can use dairy or vegan milk, like almond or oat.  

Calories

By design, a latte contains more calories than a macchiato. The amount of milk used in the drink creates a larger beverage and contributes to its caloric heft. In comparison, a macchiato is a healthier choice.

Caffeine 

While some lattes can contain as few as 80 mg of caffeine, most have around 120 mg because of their size. Essentially, the caffeine content relates to size and ingredients.

Benefits 

As with every coffee beverage, a latte offers some benefits. For those interested, a latte can: 

  • Prevent diabetes 
  • Reduce risks of cardiovascular disorders 
  • Improve skin health

Which Drink Is Healthier?

A macchiato has fewer calories and typically less caffeine than a traditional latte. However, because of the variations and sizes offered at coffee shops, it is possible caffeine levels might be equivalent. Still, a macchiato is the healthier choice in terms of calorie content. 

Which coffee drink is your drink of choice? Comment below.

Enjoy Fall All Year Long With These 3 Sweet Recipes

Everyone knows the fall is all about sweet treats, which nutritionists often tell you to avoid. However, there is nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence now and again if you maintain control.  

The problem with autumn treats is they only come around once a year, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Some fall recipes are just as delicious throughout the year. Why not allow your sweet tooth a taste all year long?

1. Apple Fritter Bites

Hailing from Say Yes contributor Brittany, these apple fritter bites are easy to make, light on the stomach, and delicious. The best part, you can whip up about two dozen of these tiny, golden joys in 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and cubed)
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ Cup milk
  • 1 ½ Cups flour
  • ¼ Cup granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup milk
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Using a pan or fryer, heat the oil to 350° Fahrenheit. Mix the baking powder, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  2. Using another bowl, beat the eggs and add milk and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Combine dry and wet ingredients, folding to a thick, nearly-combined consistency.
  3. Then, add the melted butter and apples to the mixture.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon of batter into the heated oil. Allow the batter to remain in the oil until golden brown.
  5. Remove the fritter from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain. Finally, dip the warm cakes in the glaze. Let the fritter sit for about 30 minutes before eating for the best results.

2. Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Coming from Ashley over at Sugar & Cloth, this pumpkin loaf cake is a Thanksgiving treat that is sure to give you those warm feelings all year long. The recipe makes a 9-inch loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 Cup canned pure pumpkin
  • ½ Cup room temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ Cups Sugar
  • ⅓ Cup whole milk
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Using a large bowl, either by hand or using a mixer, beat the butter smooth. Add in the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  4. Once the butter mixture is mixed thoroughly, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  5. Pouring the batter into a 9-inch loaf pan, bake it for 55 minutes.

3. Hot Chocolate Popsicles

Who said hot chocolate was just for the colder weather? With this Paper & Stitch recipe, you can enjoy your favorite hot chocolate all year long.

Ingredients:

  • Milk
  • Small marshmallows
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Your favorite hot chocolate mix
  • Popsicle mold
  • Popsicle sticks

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the hot chocolate as instructed, but be sure to use milk, not water.
  2. While brewing the hot chocolate, place a few marshmallows into each popsicle mold. Pour the hot chocolate, filling each mold about a third of the way. Freeze for one hour.
  3. Remove from the freezer, add popsicle sticks, and a thin layer of chocolate syrup. Add more hot chocolate. Freeze and repeat once more.
  4. Freeze thoroughly and enjoy.

Will you try these recipes? Leave a comment.

4 Food Items To Avoid if You Have Anxiety

Nearly 40 million Americans have an anxiety condition, typically attributed to chronic stress. While most medical professionals recommend therapy, medication, and mindfulness or behavioral changes, there is evidence to suggest that changes to your diet can significantly affect the severity and frequency of attacks. 

While most anxiety disorders will require medical or therapeutic intervention, dietary choices can help reduce some persistent symptoms. Therefore, if you have a diagnosed anxiety condition or experience occasional anxiety attacks, you might want to avoid certain foods and beverages.

1. Alcohol

While it might seem counterintuitive, alcohol can trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms. Many people, especially those with social anxiety, tend to consume alcohol at gatherings, assuming it calms their nerves. In truth, alcohol affects hydration and sleep, lowering serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety symptoms when the effects of the drink wear off.

2. Caffeine

In low doses, caffeine is safe and will have minimal effect on the body or brain. However, high amounts of the ingredient can lead to increased nervousness and anxiety. Over 60% of Americans drink coffee, and the average coffee drinker typically has more than three cups daily, according to the National Coffee Association. Drinking that much coffee puts you over the 400-milligram caffeine limit.  

While consuming too much caffeine can exacerbate anxiety disorders, it can also lead to depression. Depending on the amount you consume and how often, the substance can decrease the production of serotonin, the body’s feel-good hormone, resulting in depressed moods. 

Keep in mind that caffeine is not only an ingredient in beverages. Many food items and products also contain it, including chocolate and headache medications.

3. Added Sugar 

Sugar is naturally occurring, which means that avoidance is impossible, especially if you follow standard nutritional guidelines and eat primarily fruits and vegetables. Thankfully, natural sugar is not your enemy; added sugar is.  

Your blood sugar levels behave unpredictably when you consume too much added sugar, resulting in spikes and crashes. During a crash, anxiety levels spike, and your mood typically sours. While the body releases insulin to balance out your levels, it often has to work too hard, causing more highs and lows. Therefore, especially when heavily consumed, processed sugars can lead to worry, sadness, and irritability.

4. Refined Carbs 

Refined carbohydrates come in two forms: refined sugars and refined grains. This group of carbs can lead to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, these foods hold little nutritional value as they have been stripped of their micronutrients and fiber. Beyond the potential risks of life-threatening conditions and lack of nutrition, refined grains are also linked to anxiety conditions, including depression.  

The primary examples of refined carbs include white rice, bread, and flour. You are likely to find refined carbs in many everyday foods, such as: 

  • Pastries 
  • Soda 
  • Pasta 
  • Breakfast cereals 
  • Processed meats 
  • Processed snacks

If you have an anxiety condition, try to stay away from foods and beverages containing the above. While complete avoidance is challenging, it would be best if you ensured the above items did not make up much of your diet. 

Do you have any dietary advice for those with anxiety? Leave a comment below.

5 Low Calorie Snacks To Curb Those Hunger Pains

Everyone knows that part of weight loss is cutting calories, which can lead to challenges like hunger pains. Many low-calorie foods just won’t cut it when it comes to filling you up and leaving you satisfied until your next meal. When you don’t feel full, it is easier to give in to temptation and overeat or indulge in less than ideal foods. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy options that are both lower in calories and surprisingly filling.

1. Oats

If you are looking for something to fill you up at breakfast, consider adding oats to your meal. At only 148 calories, a half-cup serving of dry oats contains about four grams of fiber and five and a half grams of protein — each of these nutrients will help curb your hunger and appetite until your next meal.

According to one study, a serving of oatmeal can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake at your next meal. Another study found that instant and old-fashioned oatmeal can improve appetite control over four hours compared to traditional breakfast cereal.

2. Soup

While traditionally hailed as an appetizer or precursor to the main course, soup is satisfying alone, and some research has suggested that solid food is less filling than soups. According to one study, soup can slow the emptying of the stomach, promoting feelings of fullness for more extended periods, leading to fewer indulgences. Another study found that people can decrease their calorie intake by 20% by eating soup before a meal.

However, while soups are often low in calories and provide many benefits, you need to pay attention to the type of soup and the sodium content. Creamier soups tend to be higher in calories. To maximize fullness and minimize calories, you want to focus on lighter options, like broth and stock-based soups.

3. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with 11 grams per serving; it is also a low-calorie and filling snack option. At only 130 calories, Greek yogurt is proven to promote weight loss and reduce calorie intake among women. One study found that women who ate yogurt between lunch and dinner consumed about 100 fewer calories at dinner. Additionally, a second study found that high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt improved feelings of fullness over lower-protein options.

4. Berries

If you love berries, indulge in them. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While all of the nutrients are excellent for improved health, the fiber content matters when considering hunger. A single cup of blueberries has nearly three and a half grams of fiber. However, it is the type of dietary fiber found in berries that matters most: pectin.

Pectin is a type of dietary fiber that is proven to slow stomach emptying, which leads to increased feelings of fullness. By consuming berries as an afternoon snack, you can reduce feelings of hunger and your calorie intake at larger meals.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn is perhaps the most filling low-calorie snack when it is not coated in butter and salt. The surprisingly flavorful plain popcorn boasts only 31 calories per cup and includes about 5% of your daily fiber needs. Not only can popcorn lead to greater satiation, but it can also help stabilize blood sugar, which in turn prevents cravings and hunger. However, to enjoy the low-calorie benefits of popcorn, it must be air-popped and not ready-made.

Low-calorie and filling snacks are not impossible to find. Do you know of any others? Leave a comment.