Tuesday, August 23, 2011
25 Grams of Fiber? Yes, You Can!
"But Doctor, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that I can eat 25g of fiber in one day!"
I hear this response frequently when I am talking to my patients about a high fiber diet. Yes, we recommend eating 25g of fiber daily. No, it is not impossible! In truth, most Americans average way less than 10 or even 5g of fiber in their daily diet, but that is a reflection of all the convenience food that we consume. If you have coffee & a donut for breakfast, burger & fries & soda for lunch, and spaghetti & meatballs & buttered white rolls for dinner, you don't need a calculator to figure out your fiber was <5g! The good news is that it's really not hard to bump up that fiber. Here are some "tricks" to raise it:
1. Focus on fruits & vegetables (yes, it always comes back to this!) Nearly every serving of these will be at least 2g of fiber. An apple or pear~4g, berries~4-5g, banana~ 3g, broccoli ~3g, carrots ~2g, and corn or a baked potato~ g. Obviously if you get your 5-10 servings of these per day, you've got your fiber covered before you add in ANY bran muffins!
2. Choose whole grains for your breads, pasta & rice (brown)- that will add a few grams of fiber per serving (check the label!)
3. Pick a high fiber cereal that doesn't taste like tree bark, and rotate that in to your diet as both breakfast cereal and snacks (toppings on yogurt or as "croutons" on salads.) Bran Buds, for example, pack a whopping 12g of fiber in 1/3 of a cup!
4. If you like tortillas (and who doesn't?) check out some high fiber choices for your breakfast tacos (instead of toast)- Mission Carb Balance, for example, has tortillas with over 10g of fiber each!
5. Include nuts & beans (think hummus!) in your diet, too- 1/2 c of most beans will be 6-8g of fiber.
High fiber diets help prevent (or treat) constipation, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and improve your gut health. There is no need to subsist on stale high fiber bran muffins to easily maintain the recommended 25g of fiber per day. Even if you are gluten-free, you can see how this is truly "do-able".
BOTTOM LINE: Push up your vegetable & fruit servings and choose whole grain complex carbs, and soon you'll be on your way to better health through a high-fiber diet!