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Beaver Medical Group

The Choice of the Inland Empire Since 1945

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Are you getting enough fiber?

November 07, 2008

Are you Getting Enough Fiber?  

Most Americans get about 8-12 grams of fiber on any given day.  Recently, there has been more focus put on the importance of fiber and products that are made with whole grains or added fibers are more readily available.  But, how much do we need and what are some practical ways to get fiber.  We need about 25-30 grams of fiber per day.  Fiber plays an important role in the following areas:

● helps to lower blood cholesterol
● helps to control blood sugar
● regulates your digestive system
● reduces your risk of certain cancers
● keeps to feeling full which can help with weight control
There are two types of fiber in our diet.  The first is called soluble.  They dissolve in water and are most helpful in reducing blood cholesterol.  Soluble fibers are found on the inside of beans, fruits and vegetables.  Also, oatmeal and oatbran contain soluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber, or roughage, is the second type of fiber.  It comes from the outside skins of fruits, vegetables and beans.  Bran is also an insoluble fiber.  When you look on a Nutrition Fact label, they are required to list fiber as the total amount of fiber in grams per serving for a product.  Don’t be surprised when the label doesn’t differentiate between these types of fibers.

For a rough idea of how much fiber you eat in a typical day, fill in the blanks below and add up your score.  A serving equals:
● 1 slice of bread or 1 oz. muffin
● ½ cup beans, rice, cereal, pasta, vegetables
● 1 piece of fruit or ½ cup cubed fruit
● 1 cup raw vegetables or salad
● 1/4 cup of nuts.
● ½ cup cooked or 1 cup dry cerealA few tips about increasing the amount of fiber in your diet:

Add fiber gradually if you are not up to the recommended goal of 25-30 grams of fiber per day.  Increase by 3 grams every few days to avoid gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day to prevent constipation.