dietary fiber

The Secret of Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is the non-digestible portion of plant food that flows through your digestive system and creates the bulk of the feces you eliminate. How important is dietary fiber? What does it really do?

Dietary fiber can come in two forms:

1. Water soluble fiber

This type of dietary fiber is broken down in the colon via fermentation which will produce gases and some useful by products.

2. Insoluble dietary fiber

This is the fiber that creates the feces you eliminate from your system. It will absorb water as it travels the digestive system and will aid in the absorption of other nutrients.

Sources of Dietary Fiber

Soluble dietary fiber:

  • legumes: beans, peas
  • grains: oats, rye, barley
  • fruits: plums, apples, pears, berries
  • vegetables: broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, onions
  • nuts like almonds

Insoluble dietary fiber:

  • wheat
  • corn bran
  • nuts and seeds
  • potato skins
  • vegetables: green beans, cauliflower, celery
  • fruits: kiwi and avocado, unripe bananas

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

  • treatment of constipation
  • rolled oats helps lower blood cholesterol levels
  • possible links to the reduction of colon cancer
  • gives a “full” feeling to help people lose weight

Daily Intake of Dietary Fiber

Dietary Fiber Intake  
Age g/day Fiber
Males
9-13 years 31
14-18 years 38
19-50 years 38
51+ years 30
Females
9-13 years 26
14-18 years 26
19-50 years 25
51+ years 21

What does this translate into for food needed to reach these intake levels?

Dietary fiber content of foods.

Serving size

Fiber(grams)

Breads, cereals, grains
White bread

1 slice

0.6

Whole grain bread

1 slice

1.7

100% All Bran

1/2 cup

8.8

Corn Flakes

1 cup

0.7

Shredded Wheat

2 biscuits

5.5

Oatmeal, cooked

1 cup

4.0

Rice, brown, cooked

1 cup

3.5

Rice, white, cooked

1/3 cup

0.6

Fruit (fresh unless otherwise noted)
Apple, with skin

1 large

3.3

Apricots

1

0.7

Banana

1

3.1

Blackberries

1 cup

7.6

Dates

5

3.3

Grapes

10

n/a

Grapefruit, pink and red

1/2

2.0

Grapefruit, white

1/2

1.3

Melon, cantaloupe

1 cup

1.4

Nectarine

1

2.3

Orange

1 small

3.1

Peach

1

1.5

Pear

1 medium

5.1

Pineapple

1 cup

2.2

Plums

1 small

0.9

Prunes, dried

5

3.0

Raisins

1 cup

5.4

Strawberries

1 cup

3.3

Vegetables
Beans, baked, canned, plain

1 cup

10.4

Beans, green, cooked

1 cup

4.0

Beets, canned

1 cup

2.9

Broccoli, raw

1 cup

2.3

Cabbage, raw

1 cup

1.6

Carrots, raw

1 cup

3.1

Cauliflower, raw

1 cup

2.5

Celery, raw

1 cup

1.9

Corn, yellow, cooked

1 cup

3.9

Lentils, cooked

1 cup

15.6

Lettuce, romaine, raw

1 cup

1.2

Lettuce, iceberg, raw

1 cup

0.7

Peas, boiled

1 cup

4.5

Peas, split

1 cup

16.3

Potato, baked, fresh

1/2 potato

2.3

Sweet potato, cooked without skin

1/2 potato

3.9

Tomato, red, ripe

1 tomato

1.5

Winter squash, cooked

1 cup

5.7

Zucchini squash

1/2 cup

n/a

Dietary fiber is far better than fiber from supplements.  As you eat food in your regular diet, you will receive the dietary fiber you need as well as a number of nutrients.

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