Fiber: Nutrition Facts

Learn how fiber can help in health and chronic disease prevention. Learn best food fiber choices and how to add them to your diet.
Fiber: Nutrition Facts - Videos


Nutrition/Family and Consumer Sciences

More by Nancy Routch, RD, LDN 

View Transcript

- [Voiceover] Fiber.

Fiber is more than just something to chew on.

Fiber is an important part of our daily diet.

It is found in various foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans.

So what is fiber?

Fiber is part of the plant that our bodies cannot breakdown and digest easily.

Even though we don't digest it, fiber is an important part of good health.

Fiber can help improve digestive function.

Choosing a high fiber cereal to start the day can help keep your bowel movements regular.

A diet high in fiber may also decrease the risk of heart disease, obesity, and some cancers.

A diet sufficient in fiber can also help people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

The best way to increase fiber in your diet is to replace the carbohydrates that are currently in your diet with high fiber alternatives.

This change starts at the grocery store.

Check out the nutrition facts label next time you pick up a product at the supermarket.

A product is a good source of fiber if it has a daily value of 10 to 20% or more fiber in one ounce serving.

Foods that have seven grams or more of fiber per serving are considered a high fiber food.

Here are some quick ways to eat more fiber.

Try whole grain pasta instead of white pasta.

Substitute brown rice for white rice.

Eat beans a few times each week in place of beef, pork, or chicken.

Eat four and a half cups of fruits and vegetables daily, and eat the skins when possible.

Much of the fiber can be found in the skin.

Replace white bread, bagels, or other breakfast pastries with a bowl of whole grain cereal or whole grain bread.

Switch out the croutons and try roasted nuts and fruit on your salads.

Eat three servings of whole grains each day, which can include barley, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice.

If you're just starting to add more fiber to your diet, go slow.

Gradually increasing fiber over time will help you avoid discomfort and will allow for the bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.

To balance your increase in fiber, increase the amount of fluids you drink, such as water, juice, and milk.

So much fiber do you need?

The amount of daily recommended fiber differs depending on your age.

Children ages one to six need 16 to 20 grams of fiber each day.

Children ages eight to 12 need 22 to 25 grams of fiber each day.

Females ages 13 and older need 25 grams of fiber each day.

And males 13 and older need 35 to 38 grams of fiber each day.

Take a moment to think about your current food behaviors.

Look at the fiber content in the food you eat on a regular basis by checking their nutrition labels.

Let's look at the fiber content in a few typical foods to get you started.

Grains are a source of fiber, but some varieties can have more than others.

For example, a half a cup of white rice has one gram of fiber while half a cup of brown rice has two grams of fiber, and one slice of white bread has less than one gram of fiber, while one slice of 100% whole wheat bread can have three to six grams of fiber.

Three quarter cup of a typical bran flake cereal has five grams of fiber.

Fruits and berries also contain fiber.

For example, one cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber and a whole apple with its skin intact has four grams of fiber.

Vegetables, nuts, and beans another good source of fiber.

One cup of cooked split peas and one cup of cooked green peas each have eight grams of fiber.

One medium artichoke has 10 grams of fiber, and one cup of black beans has 15 grams of fiber.

There are many delicious ways to add more fiber to your diet.

Start slowly and try new things.

You will find that foods high in fiber can be tasty as well as healthy.


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