Hey, there’s fiber in my yogurt! Have you noticed how many food products now contain fiber? Do you wonder how they get that amount of fiber in food and make it still taste good? So how DO they do this? Food manufacturers have discovered something called “isolated fibers”.
Examples of these “isolated fibers” are:
oat fiber soy fiber
modified wheat starch
Food products containing “isolated fibers” are found in items like ice cream, pop-tarts, yogurt, etc. If you are unsure though, read the food label and look under the ingredients list at the bottom of the label for one or more of the “isolated fibers” listed above. And buyer beware, these fibers do not lower blood cholesterol levels or reduce risk of diabetes like the natural fibers do! Instead several of them can cause uncomfortable gas or gastrointestinal related problems. In fact if a product contains >15 grams of polydextrose the food product must have a warning on the label stating “sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product.”
On the other hand, some of the “isolated fibers” do promote regularity however. Polydextrose might, while oat fiber, sugarcane fiber, and soy fiber likely do. Inulin does not. And if you haven’t noticed a lot of the food products containing this added fiber are often very high in calories and trans fat.
So, when it comes to fiber, what should you be eating?
A good rule of thumb is to aim for 20-35 grams of fiber per day. You want to achieve this by eating a variety of high fiber foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Did you know that most Americans eat only ½ of the recommended amount of fiber? So set a goal to aim for 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is found in plant food and most fiber is in the form of soluble or insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber means that it does not dissolve in water and is commonly referred to as “roughage”. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation when taken with adequate water/fluids. It does this by bulking up stool and speeds up the passage through your bowels. It may also help to prevent colon cancer, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Another thing it helps with is suppressing hunger because of the sense of fullness it gives you.
Insoluble fiber sources:
- whole wheat
- whole grains
- wheat bran
- corn bran
- brown rice
- green beans
- dark leafy vegetables
- root vegetable skins
- Eat whole grains, fresh fruits & vegetables
- Start your day off with a high fiber cereal
- Sprinkle high fiber cereal on yogurt
- Increase your intake of fiber gradually and drink plenty of water
- More or Added Fiber = contains at least 2.5 grams/serving
- Good Source = 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber/serving
- Excellent Source/High Fiber = 5 grams of fiber or more/serving
Foods to help get your fiber quota:
- Oat bran
- Breakfast cereals
-Examples include: Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, Grape-nuts, Fiber One, All-bran
-barley, bulgur, rye, buckwheat, kasha, amaranth, quinoa, couscous
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat breads & pastas
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
- Dried beans
By Kelly Strigenz, Registered Dietitian at Divine Savior Healthcare
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