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Dear Hungry Girl,

I recently started Weight Watchers and I see people so happy over fiber.  What's the deal?  I know it's good for you but what exactly does it do?

In Need of Fiber Facts
Dear In Need,

People who count points (and follow the WW plan) go nutty over fiber because it often lowers the point values of foods (which is a VERY good thing!).  But fiber is important for so many reasons.  It helps you feel full, and it can also help prevent cardiovascular disease and manage your blood sugar levels.  So experts say people should ingest about 30 grams of it a day.  Our pal, author and nutrition consultant Lisa R. Young PhD., R.D., adds, "The good news is fiber contains zero calories because we do not digest it.  By feeling full we end up eating less over the course of the day...a dieters dream!"  So what about high-fiber processed foods that don't "naturally" contain fiber, like ice creams, bars or cookies?  Are they as good for us?  Says Lisa, "The food industry might say yes, but really they are not.  Especially because fruits and veggies are also packed with many other nutrients and phytochemicals."  All in all, though, everyone agrees that fiber, no matter the source (yes, even in that ice cream!), is good for you.  Face it.  FIBER ROCKS!   FYI, tomorrow's email is all about our favorite high-fiber food finds.  Woohoo!

Dear HG,

How do you deter yourself from eating when you are hungry, but know you've eaten enough?  I try to drink a lot of water but I just can't seem to get my appetite in check.  Any suggestions?

-Habitually Hungry
Dear Hungry,

I, too, have a big appetite (hence the name, Hungry Girl).  And though I watch my calorie intake, I try to eat until I'm satisfied.  For me, sometimes that means filling up on water, low cal veggies, and fruits.  And studies show that starting a meal with a broth-based soup (which I often do) is a great way to help take in fewer calories overall.  How much food it takes to make you full can also depend on how many meals you eat a day.  If you eat only one or two, chances are, by the time you get some food, you'll wolf anything and everything down in two seconds flat.  It sounds weird, but the more meals you eat, the less you'll likely eat overall.  That's because eating small meals every few hours will help you avoid getting to that famished state where you devour everything in sight.  Lastly, it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to register that it's full.  So the next time you're eating, and eating, and eating, and are still hungry, walk away from the food for a half hour or so.  Chances are, that when that time has passed, you won't be hungry anymore.

October is National Caramel Month. We figured we'd wait 'til it was more than halfway over to tell you that.

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