Ask the Dietitian: 'How Much Fiber Do I Actually Need?'

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Ask the dietitian: “How much fiber do I actually need?”

Fiber-rich foods you should eat more of (and why).

Pendulum Dietitian Kristin Neusel answers all of your burning nutrition and diet-related questions.
 
Interested in submitting a question to Kristin? Email it to us at nutrition@pendulumlife.com and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!


Q: What are some fiber-rich foods I should eat more of...and why?

Great question!

Per the American Diabetes Association, it’s recommended that women have 25 grams of fiber per day and men consume 38 grams of fiber per day.

Eating plenty of food higher in fiber can lead to improvements in your gut health. 

First, there are two types of fiber:

  • Soluble fiber: This type of fiber helps slow digestion and the rate at which carbohydrates and other nutrients are absorbed in your body. Soluble fiber can help control your blood sugar by preventing rapid rises or spikes. You can get soluble fiber from foods like oats, beans, peas, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
  • Insoluble fiber: The insoluble form of fiber helps move things through your body and provides “bulk,” which helps to prevent constipation and keep you regular. You can get insoluble fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

BOTH forms of fiber make you feel full, which can prevent you from overeating!
  
Any time someone increases dietary fiber, I recommend doing so slowly to help your body adjust.

I also recommend increasing your intake of water to help prevent constipation.
 
The best way to check your fiber intake is by reading the nutrition facts label on your food or by familiarizing yourself with the fiber contained in your fave fruits and vegetables.

Fiber is listed under the “carbohydrates” section on packaged food labels. In general, look for foods with more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.
 
Need some fiber-full suggestions? Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet:

1. Choose fruits as snacks, salads, and desserts
  • 1 cup of sliced avocados = 9 grams of fiber
  • 1 medium pear = 6 grams of fiber
  • 1 medium apple (with skin) = 4 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of raspberries = 8 grams of fiber

    2. Add healthier choices to your snack arsenal
    • Raw, cut-up vegetables like red and yellow peppers, broccoli florets, carrots, and cauliflower
    • A Fiber One bar provides 9 grams of fiber
    • A ¼ cup of pistachios provides 3 grams of fiber
    • 3 cups of air-popped popcorn have 3.5 grams of fiber 

    3. Look for “whole” grain items that are minimally processed: whole-grain bread, pasta, cereals, and brown rice.

    4. Add some beans or lentils to your soups, salads, and side dishes. Or, serve them as the main dish!
      • Adding ½ cup of split peas to soup provides a whopping 25 grams of fiber

       

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