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Much Ado About Fiber

One of the first (and most repeated) tips about healthy eating is to include fiber in your diet. So many products have labels on the front advertising "50% more Fiber" and fiber supplements take up half an aisle in the pharmacy. We get it--fiber is good for you. But how much? And what kinds?

First off: all fiber is not created equal. There are 2 types: water soluble, and insoluble.

Water-soluble fiber: this kind of fiber swells when it meets water. It reduces your cholesterol levels, and helps keep your blood sugar stable. Oatmeal is the first that comes to mind. Think about how a few spoonfuls of dry oats expands to make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

Oats with flax seeds, strawberries, and PB.

Other sources of soluble fiber are:

-nuts
-barley
-flax seeds
-oranges
-apples

Insoluble Fiber: is the most helpful for the digestive system. It moves bulk through the intestines, helps you avoid constipation and colon cancer. This kind of fiber will pass through our systems almost completely intact. Sources include:

-whole-wheat products
-seeds and nuts
-fruit skins
-green leafy vegetables

Salad with green beans, almonds, sweet potato, and berries


Ideally, we receive both kinds of fiber daily in our diets. One without the other can be problematic. Soluble fiber "keeps things together" in your intestines, while insoluble fiber "moves things along". Both types working together = a happy tummy.

Recommendations for fiber range from 25 grams daily (for women) to 38 grams (for men). But can we get TOO much fiber? As a victim of Kashi GoLean Crunch (note: half a box is NOT one serving) my answer is yes. Too much insoluble fiber can result in diarrhea. If you plan on increasing your fiber intake, it's best to do it slowly--a little more each day.

1 serving = 8 grams of fiber.
7 servings = 56 grams. Whoops.

If you're a runner, you probably already know that too much fiber = too many bathroom breaks on your long run. Rather than reduce your daily fiber, keep it lower 24 hours prior to your long runs (maybe 48 if you have a very sensitive stomach). The rest of the time, consume your normal amount.

How much fiber do you eat daily? Do you track it?
I don't track fiber on a daily basis, although every week or so I'll sit down and make sure I'm in the correct range. I check online for stats, since veggies don't have nutrition info printed on them!

Favorite fiber-filled foods? Do you take a supplement for fiber?
Oats are my staple. I eat oatmeal every day for breakfast, sometimes more than once if I have it for a snack/dessert as well. I also include lots of green veggies like broccoli, and nuts. 


*Note: please excuse the title. I couldn't resist using the word "ado" in a post about fiber. My apologies for the terrible pun.*

Comments

  1. I have no idea how much fiber I eat, but I do eat oats, whole grains, and tons of fruits and veggies :)

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  2. great post, thanks for sharing this! I'm not sure of an exact amount of fiber, but I eat a lot of oats and a LOT of fruits and veggies! :)

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  3. Great post, its not something I think about, but the amount of fruits and veggies I eat, I would assume I get my daily dose of fiber daily.

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  4. I don't track my fiber anymore but when I did track food intake I was getting 28g/day+ :)

    I know when I need to increase though since it's reflective in my bowel movements and how hungry I get later in the day.

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  5. Great post! I get a lot of fiber in every day with whole grains, veggies, and fruits. I am not sure exactly how much, but I'm sure it's more than the average joe consumes.

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  6. Great post!! It's also important to note that if you are constipated it's unwise to suddenly consume a lot of fiber...it will actually make things a lot worse!

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  7. HAHA---> *Note: please excuse the title. I couldn't resist using the word "ado" in a post about fiber. My apologies for the terrible pun.* <---- that is awesome. :)

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  8. I probably don't get enough fiber in the day. I'm really trying to increase my fruit/veggie in take to help with this. I am not a oatmeal fan (the consistency makes it take an hour for me to force a serving down my throat) and cereal/milk upsets my stomach for the rest of the day. Maybe some kashi on my yogurt? hmm - you are full of good ideas ;)

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  9. Thank you for a CLEAR explanation of soluble VS insoluble and why we need both! I have never been sure. Great post!

    I don't track my fiber but I do try to be aware of it... I am also a Kashi addict. And, um, that flavor looks gooood!

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  10. lol! Victim of cereal sounds funny

    I don't track my fiber, but my favorite sources are probably apples and leafy greens like kale and collards :)

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  11. Such good tips! I have tracked my fiber before in the past and if I'm eating a good diet it's not hard to meet the requirements. Kashi is so delicious. Especially the blueberry cereal flavor!

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  12. THanks for the post, really informative! i love go lean crunch!

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  13. I normally get around 35-40 grams per day. This is more than the "recommended" amount but it truly is what works for me, which is also important to note. I adjusted my diet until I felt comfortable digestively and have stayed there since.

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  14. We definitely get enough fiber in this household. This post, well the Kashi cereal part, reminded me of a post I wrote about a fiber one mishap. If you have a strong stomach and need a laugh check it out: http://racingwithbabes.blogspot.com/2008/04/there-should-be-warning-label.html

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  15. I need to start dong some nutrient spot checks, I think it would be a very good thing for me... maybe that can be my July goal.

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  16. I'm not sure how much fiber I get, but it is something I'm conscious of and try to eat lots of!

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  17. I can totally tell when I'm not eating enough fiber (*ahem*)... things just don't work properly!

    Oatmeal is my go-to. Also broccoli! And if I'm feeling really in need of fiber, All-Bran 'BranBuds' are amazing! 51% of your daily fiber in 1/3 a cup!

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  18. That salad in the picture looks amazing. I need to get craftier(?) about my salads. Thanks for the explination about the fiber types, now I won't need to PRETEND to know the difference!

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  19. I never track how much fiber I eat on a daily basis, but I definitely think I get enough - sometimes almost too much. I can't help it, I crave healthy foods!

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  20. I've been trying to keep my fiber stats straight and for some reason it never made sense until this post. Thank you!

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  21. Fun fact about fibre- unless the rules have changed (and they may have), the "calorie count" for insoluble fibre doesn't count in the US on food labels, but does in Canada. So you can have the same product (like Kashi Go Lean Crunch) in the two countries and the calorie counts per serving will be different.

    As for whether I track it? No. I don't track anything except to think "hmm...did I have enough veggies today? no? ok, I'll eat more at dinner"

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  22. Oh, Kashi Go Lean Crunch... I realized I loved it a little too much one time too!

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  23. Very good post!

    I eat a ton of fiber...nah, I don't track it, but I love foods with a lot of fiber (broccoli, oats, fruit), so I'm sure I'm meeting or exceeding the recommended amount.

    I can handle a lot of fiber, so I have yet to be a Kashi victim, despite my love for it, haha.

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  24. I am like you....I don't track every day, I just remember to check up on it once in awhile! I love my chia seeds and and a fruit and veg junkie! ...Ohhhh and there is fiber in ice cream too right?

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  25. I love seedy crackers like Mary's or whole grain crisp bread like melba toast... or just plain toast, haha.

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  26. I don't keep track of my fiber but I am sure I eat a lot of it because I have been eating so many fruits and veggies lately. Plus I take a fiber supplement (in gummy form!) every day! haha. love it! But what I am taking in does not seem to be too much so that is good. Thanks for this post it was very informative!

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  27. I don't track but I'm sure I get plenty with all the fruits and veggies I eat. I wonder if granola counts as oats? Now I'm curious about the fiber content and need to check the box.

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  28. That's really interesting, I had no idea there were 2 kinds of fiber. I used to track my fiber (and everything else) for a while and yeah I think I got more than I should. Not drastically more tho!

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  29. I don't keep track of anything food-wise--and I often think of how shocked I might be if I did!! Luckily, I love lots of things that are good for me/packed with fiber, so I think I do pretty well in that department. Thanks for the reminder to lay off the fiber a bit before long runs (ha ha--long runs!! no pun intended there!)

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  30. VEGGIES!!! I LOVE FIBER!!! I don't count but I am sure I get more than enough. I LOVE that I learn something every time I come to your blog, THANK YOU!

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  31. That salad looked so good! I want to make that now. I love salads, and I make a similar one, but I've never added green beans and sweet potatoes to mine. My favorite fiber filled food at the moment is frozen blueberries. I don't even know if those are considered high fiber, but they're fruit so they have to have some!

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  32. I'm a sucker for GO Lean Crunch too...love the stuff. My system is so jacked up that it never brings on diarrhea, BUT when I recommend to others, I warn the side effect of eating the right amount of fiber! Yes, I could fiber...it's SO important and I make sure I meet or exceed my goals as often as possible! That sweet potato salad looks SO good, I might have to try that!

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  33. I have absolutely no idea how much fiber I get, but I eat tons of fruits and veggies!

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  34. Clever title :)

    I love fiber, I always feel extra healthy when I eat high fiber stuff. Thanks for the suggestions of high fiber options!

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  35. I am so glad you did this post about fiber. I have had some digestion problems and my doc said to increase the fiber. great info--thanks!!

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