Health Advice



Getting Enough Fiber?

Charlyn Fargo on

A new study finds that American adults continue to fall short of their daily fiber needs. The study looked at data from more than 14,000 adults over five years. Only 7.4% met the Institute of Medicine's recommendation of 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. We need anywhere from 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, depending on our gender (men need more) and calorie intake.

The findings of the study were presented at the American Society for Nutrition's June 2021Nutrition Live Online event.

The study also found that people with prediabetes and diabetes ate more fiber overall and among those, women with diabetes consumed more fiber than men with diabetes.

There are lots of benefits to getting more fiber in your diet (and hitting that daily recommendation). Fiber helps you lose weight by making you feel more satisfied. Fiber acts like a sponge; it slows down digestion to help prevent blood sugar spikes. It also provides bulk, which helps promote regularity in emptying our stools. It also helps lower blood cholesterol.

So, how can you boost your fiber? Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Look on labels to see how much fiber a product contains. Look for bread with 2 to 3 grams per slice.

Top sources of fiber are beans (all kinds), peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, artichokes, whole wheat flour, barley, bulgur, bran, raspberries, blackberries and prunes. A cup of black beans has 10 grams of fiber; a cup of raspberries has 8 grams.


Good sources of fiber include lettuce, dark leafy greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes with the skin, corn, snap beans, asparagus, cabbage, whole wheat pasta, oats, popcorn, nuts, raisins, pears, strawberries, oranges, bananas, blueberries, mangoes and apples.

Like everything else with our food choices, small steps make a big difference. Add a can of black beans to your salsa. Add a cup of raspberries to your morning oatmeal. As a side dish, think three-bean salad or add beans to your burritos, chili or soup. Choose a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Snack on almonds, pecans and walnuts (they have more fiber than other nuts). Choose brown rice over white and whole wheat bread and pasta over white.

These seemingly small choices can add up to big benefits from additional fiber in your diet.

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