We received a question regarding high-fiber instant oatmeal cereal - is it a good idea if you are trying to eat more fiber? And this beckons a discussion on fiber. What is fiber? Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods that helps aid digestion. Where is fiber found? Fiber is found in un-processed plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. But more importantly, fiber is not naturally found in foods that are derived from animals which includes dairy products like cheese and meat. Fiber is also not found in many processed foods like sugar, white flour and refined fats and oils. The scary thing about these processed foods is that they are highly palatable and calorie dense. They tend to be low on the satiety scale, too, so to make them worse still, you tend to want to eat more of them to feel satisfied. Back to our oatmeal comparison: the real fiber message from MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to eat more high-fiber foods. Quaker’s High-Fiber Instant Oatmeal contains 10 grams of fiber per serving as compared to 4 g per serving for regular oatmeal or quick cooking. Instant oatmeal has added guar gum that increases the fiber. But this instant oatmeal has added sugar (7 g) and sodium (210 mg) that make it not the optimal choice. While it is a better choice than a fast food egg sandwich, it is not the best oatmeal choice. Dr. Kenney says, “Oatmeal with added guar gum plus added salt and sugar makes no sense. People want to eat a superfood that tastes okay and will somehow negate the impact of all the foods high in saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, salt, and refined carbs eaten. Not going to happen. Oatmeal is already a high-satiety food and has plenty of fiber on its own. Eat the regular oatmeal and if you want extra soluble fiber have a glass of sugar-free Metamucil, too.”
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.