What is Fiber?
Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is the part of the plant material that cannot be digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Most foods contain mixtures of soluble and insoluble fibers.
Soluble Fiber – dissolves and thickens in water to form a gel. Good sources of soluble fiber include dried beans and legumes, oatmeal, oat bran, barley and citrus fruits. This type of fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer. Research has shown that this type of fiber may also help lower blood cholesterol.
Insoluble Fiber – usually referred to as ‘roughage’, includes the woody or structural parts of plants, such as fruit and vegetable skins, wheat bran, and whole-grain cereals. This type of fiber tends to speed up the passage of material through the digestive tract and reduce the risk of colon cancer, as well as diverticular disease.
How much fiber should I eat?
Experts recommend that a healthy adult eat 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day. You can meet this goal by eating a well-balanced diet containing a variety of foods such as two servings of fruits, three servings of vegetables, and three or more servings of whole-grain breads or cereals. Remember to increase the dietary fiber in your diet gradually to avoid gastric distress, and to drink plenty of fluid (8 cups per day) to avoid constipation. If you have a history of diverticular disease, you should avoid corn, nuts, and seeds, and any foods containing them.
How do I increase the fiber in my diet?
Eat fresh fruit for snacks or desserts, such as berries, oranges, prunes or apricots.
Eat fruits and vegetables with their peels, such as pears, apples, peaches, potatoes, and squash.
Add cooked or canned beans, split peas, or lentils to your favorite
(1 serving = 1/3 cup cooked) Dietary Fiber (grams)
Chickpeas (Garbanzo) 10
Black-eyed peas 8
Baked beans 5
Pinto, kidney, black or
Lima beans 4
Cereals (1 ounce serving = 1/2 – 3/4 cup) Dietary Fiber (grams)
General Mills Fiber One 12
Kellogg’s All-Bran 9
Ralston Bran Chex 5
Post and Kellogg’s
Bran Flakes 4
Wheat and Bran 4
Bran flakes 4
Quaker Instant Oatmeal 3
General Mills Wheaties 3
What is Fiber?