Kim Beardsmore

Article Summary:

What's the daily recommended fiber intake, and how important is it to your diet and overall health?

Daily Fiber Intake: The Role of Fiber In Diet and Nutrition

Your daily fiber intake is a critical factor in weight loss and general well-being. Health professionals advise that adults should eat at least 25-35 grams of fiber each day. The current average in western countries such as Australia and the US is well below the recommended levels. For many people, increasing your fiber intake would very likely lead to improved health outcomes including reducing your risk of colon cancer.

Check the following list to see how much fiber you're getting:

  • Mixed grain/brown bread (1 slice) - 1.5g

  • White bread (1 slice) - 0.8g

  • Rolled oats (1 cup cooked) - 3.3g

  • Bran cereal (1/2 cup) - 7.5g

  • Rice (1/2 cup cooked) - 0.8g

  • Rice, brown (1/2 cup cooked) - 1.8g

  • Spaghetti, brown (1/2 cup cooked) - 4.2g

  • Banana - 3.4g

  • Apple, pear or orange - 2.0g

  • Prunes, dates or dried apricots (50g) - 6.5g

  • Sultanas or raisins (50g) - 3.5g

  • Peas, green (100g) - 5.3g

  • Corn kernels (100g) - 4.7g

  • Potato, peeled, cooked (100g) - 1.0g

  • Broccoli (100g) - 4.1g

  • Carrot (100g) - 2.8g

  • Baked beans (1 small can) - 9.5g

Here are some answers to common questions about fiber in our diet.

What is fiber?
fiber is the indigestible carbohydrate residue found in foods. There are two types: soluble or insoluble. Soluble is soft and mushy - for instance beans and porridge; insoluble is hard and course, such as wheat bran.

What good does fiber do?
fiber works by speeding up the time it takes food to pass through the large intestine, reducing the absorption of toxic and carcinogenic compounds. It also modifies the metabolism of foods, binds waste products for elimination and counters the effects of toxic bacteria in the colon. Dietary fiber is helpful for those who want to lose weight, since fiber absorbs water so you feel full and satisfied throughout the day. Adding fiber to your diet can help improve your eating habits, which can lead to weight loss and more energy!

What is the recommended daily amount?
25-35 grams. At present, the amount of fiber consumed in a typical diet in developed countries is well below the recommended levels.

Which foods are high in fiber?
Natural foods are usually high in fiber i.e. whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables.

What happens to fiber in the body?
It passes through the stomach into the digestive tract, and on to the large bowel intact where it absorbs water and other waste materials, then it is passed as stools.

How can fiber assist Type II diabetics?
A study published in the May 11, 2000 issue of The New England Journal of medicine reports that diabetic patients who included 50 grams of fiber in their daily diet lowered their glucose levels by 10%. Fifty grams is a lot of fiber: about twice as much as the American Diabetes Association recommends, and nearly 3 times as much fiber as most Americans consume in a day.

How can I increase my fiber intake...in my area there is not a good supply of fresh fruit and vegetables?
Nutritional supplements are the perfect answer to dietary problems where the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables is compromised.

Kim Beardsmore is an Independent Herbalife Distributor, weight loss coach and author of the online magazine Weight Loss Health. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biochemistry and Histology. For recipes, articles, a newsletter, and tips to burn fat, boost energy and block cravings, visit her website at weight-loss-health.com.au

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