Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fiber is a nutrient present in all plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.  It is the indigestible portion of carbohydrates. Although we cannot digest fiber, it provides many health benefits. Fiber lowers cholesterol, decreases spikes in blood glucose levels, promotes a healthy GI tract and provides a feeling of satiety, which can lead to weight reduction.

Let me explain how that works. There are two types of fiber in foods. First, soluble fiber, which is found in some fruits, legumes, oatmeal and oat bran.

Second, insoluble fiber, which is found in vegetables and whole grains.

Soluble fiber sits in the stomach and forms a gel by drawing water to it as part of the digestive process. This gives a feeling of satiety, causing decreased appetite. This process also delays the absorption of carbohydrates, helping to lower spikes in blood glucose. Also, cholesterol molecules attach to the fiber and are carried out of the digestive tract therefore helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. 

Insoluble fiber is the part of the plant that we cannot digest, so it basically passes through the system carrying out waste and promoting the health of the GI tract.

The daily recommended amount of fiber from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is 25-30 grams per day. Most of the population only actually consumes ~11g per day. 

Our diets are full of processed, refined foods and tons of sugar, all not containing much fiber. Let me provide an example: say, for example, you eat an apple; it has approximately 4 grams of fiber. If you were to process the apple, ½ cup serving of applesauce would have only 1 gram of fiber.

If you would further process the apples to apple juice there would no longer be any dietary fiber. 

To take advantage of improving your health benefits by increasing fiber in the diet, it is imperative to be properly hydrated. If fiber is added and not enough water is consumed, the process does not work properly and may lead to GI discomfort.

Many familiar foods contain high amounts of fiber:

1 apple with skin ~4 g

¾ cup blueberries ~ 5g

1 cup raspberries ~ 8 g

1 ounce nuts ~ 3.5 g

3 cups popcorn ~ 4 g

½ avocado ~ 5 g

½ cup cooked chickpeas ~ 7 g

It is easy to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Let’s look at an example of a few dietary changes that can make a big difference in fiber content without sacrificing anything.

Regular Meals

High-Fiber Meals

Breakfast

Breakfast

1 cup Rice Chex, 1 g

½ banana,  1.5 g

1 cup Bran Chex cereal, 7 g

½ cup raspberries, 4 g

Snack

Snack

2 cookies,  < 1 g

1 oz. almonds,  3.5 g

Lunch

Lunch

1 cup chicken soup,  <1 g

Turkey sandwich on white bread, 1 g

1 cup lentil soup, 8 g

Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, 4 g

Snack

Snack

1 oz. corn chips, 1 g

3 cups popcorn, 4 g

Dinner

Dinner

1 cup spaghetti and meatballs, 1 g

1 cup whole wheat spaghetti with meatballs, 6 g

1 cup zucchini, 2 g

1 cup of broccoli, 5 g

Handful of grapes, <1 g

1 pear, 5.5 g

Total Fiber:  9 g

Total Fiber: 47 g

 

 

By Jamie Feit

 

 Jamie Feit, MS, RD, received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University and her Master of Science degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. Jamie completed her dietetic internship in affiliation with Mount Sinai Medical Center. Before starting Jamie Feit Nutrition, LLC, Jamie was a wellness educator for 1199 Union Benefits Program, an independent nutrition consultant, and held a variety of positions at Mount Sinai Medical Center, including nutrition supervisor at the diabetes center, research coordinator and clinical nutritionist in the division of endocrinology. Jamie provides per diem coverage at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, and Jamie currently works part-time at Westmed Medical Group in the healthy measures weight-management department. Jamie is also a pampered chef consultant because she loves to cook, entertain and serve healthy kosher food. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 914-304-4008.

 

 

Join Our List
and receive information on community events, announcements, exclusive sales and our issue emails.