High Fiber Diet

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Fiber facts

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that is part of a plant that cannot be digested. Thus, it adds virtually no calories to the diet. Dietary fiber provides a feeling of fullness and adds bulk in the diet. Fiber is classified as water soluble and water insoluble.

Aim for 20-35 grams of fiber every day

Type Effects Sources

Soluble fiber: Attracts water and turns to a gel during digestion

  • Delays the time it takes for the stomach to empty which may enhance weight loss efforts by helping you feel full for a longer period of time

Oat bran, barley, rice bran, brown rice, lentils, dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds, some fruits and vegetables, and psyllium (found in some cereals and fiber supplements)

Insoluble fiber: Passes through your digestive tract virtually intact

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Helps minimize diarrhea
  • Helps manage blood glucose

Wheat bran, corn bran, whole-grain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit skins and nuts

Tips for increasing the fiber in your diet

  • Eat more whole-grain bread, including whole wheat tortillas and baked goods made with whole grain flours
  • Choose whole grain pasta (such as whole wheat), brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, millet, barley and buckwheat
  • Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips, or try dried fruits and nuts
  • Choose fresh fruits over juice
  • Eat fruits and vegetables with the skin on (apples, pears, peaches, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Substitute legumes (beans, lentils, peanut butter) for meat at least twice a week or add cooked navy, kidney, pinto beans or chickpeas to soup
  • Select high-fiber cereals for breakfast or mix a high-fiber cereal, such as All-Bran or Fiber One, with your favorite brand; add some fresh fruit
  • Drink 8 cups or more water to keep fiber moving through your body
  • Use fiber supplements only if instructed by your physician or a registered dietitian

Sample menu for 35 grams of fiber

Meal / Snack Food Serving Size Fiber (grams)
Breakfast High-fiber cereal like All-Bran or Fiber One 1/2 cup 13
  Banana 1/2 1
Lunch 100 percent whole-wheat bread 2 slices  4
  Tomato 1 medium 4
  Apple with skin 1 medium 4
Dinner Baked potato with skin 1 medium 4
  Cooked peas 1/2 cup 4
  Strawberries 1 cup 3
Snack Popcorn, air popped 1 cup 1

Additional fiber-containing foods

Food Serving Size Fiber (grams)
Brown Rice 1 cup 9
Orowheat English Muffin 1 4
Orowheat Bagel 1 44
Whole wheat pasta 1 cup 2
Couscous or macaroni 1 cup 4
Oatmeal 1 cup 13
Zen Bakery fiber cake 8
Raisin Bran 1 cup 10
Kashi Go Lean cereal 3/4 cup 6
Grape-Nuts 1/2 cup 6

Baked beans, chickpeas 1/2 cup 6
Black, kidney or pinto beans 1/2 cup 7
Lentils 1/2 cup 8

Vegetables (raw):    
Carrots 1 2
Celery 1 stalk 1
Vegetables (cooked):    
Broccoli or Corn 1/2 cup 2
Spinach 1/2 cup 3

Orange 1 medium 3
Grapes 1 1/2 cups 2