You’ve probably heard someone tell you to get more fiber in your diet. Well, I don’t know about y’all but adding fiber to your diet is a lot easier said than done. There are a ton of factors that go into adding fiber like where it’s coming from, how many calories you’re adding to reach your fiber goals a day, and if it’s even worth it! I’m here to talk about more than just a “high fiber diet” but how to get more Fiber in your Diet without a Calorie Overload. It all has to do with Fiber Density, which I’ll get more into later!
Today, I want to talk about why fiber is so incredible important for the body to properly function and digest foods. Plus how to actually reach your fiber intake goals in a manageable and sustainable way. It’s TOTALLY possible and just depends on the types of fiber rich foods you’re eating.
Why You Need Fiber
For starters, Dietary Fiber is known to prevent and relieve constipation. Yep, we’re only on the third paragraph of this blog post and we’re already talking dirty. Breaking it down further, there are soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber means it dissolves in water and helps to lower blood cholesterol & glucose levels while Insoluble fiber is the one that promotes the movement of “stuff” through your GI tract.
Benefits of Fiber
- Normalizes bowel movements (obviously this is V important or I wouldn’t talk about it so much in this post!)
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- Helps control blood sugar
- Helps with weight control/weight loss
So, how does one increase fiber without a huge increase in calories?
Two words: Fiber Density.
Foods high in fiber density not only offer a greater fiber intake per meal but also keep your calories in a healthy spot as well. These foods higher in fiber density are pretty easy to calculate on your own. Check out the nutrition label on foods (or google it for things like veggies) and take the grams of fiber per 1 cup divided by the total calories per 1 cup. That gram amount is the Fiber Density.
[ Grams of fiber per cup / total calories per cup = Fiber Density ]
In this case, the higher the Fiber Density, the better. Because our goal again is to keep calories the same but increase fiber intake.
Example of foods (low to high) with Fiber Density
Foods can be high in fiber but don’t necessarily have a high fiber density. Check out the foods below for reference.
Nuts, seeds, whole grains: <3g/cup (they tend to read as high fiber foods but their fiber density is pretty low)
Legumes: 5 to 10g/cup
Kale, berries, broccoli, artichoke: 10 to 15g/cup
Leafy greens (Spinach, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy): >15g/cup
*take note that I’ve only listed plants above! That’s simply because that’s where you’ll get the most fiber density and tend to be our high fiber foods compared to animal products.
What have You Learned?
Well, hopefully something related to fiber! But seriously, if anything, I want y’all to take-away that Fiber is incredibly important to your diet for more than just weight loss as it’s used for in main-stream media. It also regulates your bowel movements and controls blood sugar!
Something else is that not all fiber rich foods are created equal. Like I mentioned above, Fiber Density is what we’re looking for! When you search, “foods high in fiber”, take a deeper look into fiber density.
I was/still am one of those people who finds it pretty difficult to hit my fiber for the day so learning this really helped me look at foods differently and make smarter choices. Sadly, almond butter doesn’t have my back when it comes to a fiber density food…
Let me know what you thought of the article and if it helped you see fiber foods in a different way!