If you look at the graph below you will see that a higher fiber diet was found to help lower the risk for overweight and obesity in women in a recent study. Sounds fair enough - but most people only eat about half of the fiber they should. Here is what you need to know:
Where do you find fiber?
Fiber is found in whole plant foods:
- Whole-grain foods, including: breads, cereals (hot and cold), pasta, popcorn and rice
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
You won’t find fiber in meat, poultry, milk, dairy products or fats. You also won’t find much of it in your favorite baked goods that are usually made with sugar and white flour. This also means it is not found in significant amounts in favorite American fast foods like burgers, fries, pizza and other fast foods.
How do you eat more fiber?
The best way to get more fiber in your diet is to start switching out low-fiber carbs and other foods for those that are higher in fiber. It is not as hard as you think. Here’s a few examples:
- Switch from white pasta to whole grain pasta
- Switch from white rice to brown rice.
- Eat beans a few times a week in place of your usual choice of chicken or beef.
- Get enough fruits and vegetables - the current daily recommendation is about 4.5 cups which is about 1.5 cups or a half plate at each meal.
- Eat oatmeal or whole grain cereal in place of bagels and bakery treats.
- Top your salad with toasted nuts instead of croutons.
- Get your 3 servings of whole grains each day and include a variety - like oats, whole wheat, barley and brown rice.
For more info and recipes on whole grains, visit online at www.wholegrainscouncil.org
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.