More and more food labels and packages are proudly displaying claims about added fiber. Even certain sweeteners are sporting new fiber claims. Check out Splenda Essentials for an example of a product adding fiber and discussing its health benefits.
We asked Dr. James J Kenney if these products were worth all the fuss. This is his response...
“The truth is that most of these designer fibers for the most part are not designed to mimic the health benefits of natural fibers and few of them have been tested to see what impact they have on metabolism. Certainly these designer fibers cannot be assumed to provide all the health benefits of consuming foods naturally rich in fiber. However, since there is little data on these designer fibers they should not be assumed to provide anywhere near the same health benefits of eating natural foods rich in fiber. It would be nice if we had more data on the impact of these semi-synthetic fibers but without hard data no health claims are made for them so the food industry may hope that people just assume their designer fibers are just as healthy as the real thing. Of course, with no good data it is hard to say much about any specific type of fiber.”
We also checked in with fiber expert Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD. She asserts, "If you choose to purchase foods with added fiber, be savvy and check the nutritional information. If the food is high in calories and fat with added fiber, the fiber does not override the high calorie and fat content. You want to look for foods that have a close carbohydrate to fiber ratio and are low in fat. Aim for foods that have at least five grams of fiber and a close amount of carbohydrate. The general rule is that a food should have no more than 45 grams of carbohydrate and at least five grams of fiber per serving. Food items that have added fiber are not necessarily healthy choices. It is important to think about whether the food is a healthy item to begin with; a cookie with added fiber is still a cookie and not a healthful food. However, sugar-free jelly with added fiber (Polaner’s), for instance, is a great way to add a few extra grams of fiber into your diet in combination with a healthful diet full of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains."
You can learn more about Tanya Zuckerbrot and the F-Factor diet at
Check out some of the F-Factor's delicious cereals for a fiber boost without extra fat and calories.
- Mini Cinnamon Os
- Skinny's 'n Fruit
- High Fiber Skinnys
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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.