Want a food that gives you more bang for your buck? That’s fiber! Eating fiber-rich foods aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients, plus it helps you to feel fuller longer after a meal, curbing those cravings that lead to weight gain! Ever wonder why you can consume large amounts of certain foods, and still be hungry? And if you are restricting your calories, the last thing you want is to be hungry all the time. This leads to frustration, irritation and binge eating. A common mistake when people begin a low carb diet is to not include enough fiber. In fact, when people start a low carb/high protein diet they frequently become constipated. Add a lack of water and not enough exercise and you have a very uncomforable problem.

If you are like most Americans, then you probably consume about 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, this is just not enough. Men 50 years of age and younger should consume at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while men older than 50 years of age should aim for at least 30 grams of fiber daily. Women 50 years of age and younger should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, while women older than 50 years of age should aim for at least 21 grams of fiber daily.

So how can I get more fiber in my diet?

  • Eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber include:
    • Beans such as:
      • navy (1/2 cup = 9.5 grams),
      • kidney (1/2 cup = 8.2 grams),
      • pinto (1/2 cup = 7.7 grams),
      • black (1/2 cup = 7.5),
      • lima (1/2 = 6.6 grams),
      • white (1/2 cup = 6.3 grams)
      • great northern (1/2 cup = 6.2 grams).
    • Artichokes (1 artichoke = 6.5 grams)
    • Sweet potatoes (1 medium sweet potato = 4.8 grams)
    • Pears (I small pear = 4.4 grams)
    • Green peas (1/2 cup = 4.4 grams)
    • Berries such as raspberries (1/2 cup = 4.0 grams) and blackberries (1/2 cup = 3.8 grams)
    • Prunes (1/2 cup = 3.8 grams)
    • Figs and dates (1/4 cup = 3.6 grams)
    • Spinach (1/2 cup = 3.5 grams)
    • Apples (1 medium apple = 3.3 grams)
    • Oranges (I medium orange = 3.1 grams)
  • Replace refined white bread with whole-grain breads and cereals. Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Eat more of the following foods:
    • Bran muffins
    • Oatmeal
    • Bran or multiple-grain cereals, cooked or dry
    • Brown rice
    • Popcorn
    • 100% whole-wheat bread
    • Add 1/4 cup of wheat bran (miller’s bran) to foods such as cooked cereal, applesauce or meat loaf.
  • When eating store-bought foods, check the nutrition information labels for the amounts of dietary fiber in each product. Aim for 5 grams of fiber per serving.

If you are finding it difficult to get enough fiber in your diet you can supplement with products like PGX.  (see below) This product is very helpful in adding additional soluble fiber to your diet and preventing the constipation.  In addition, a laxative tea  like SENNA tea is helpful in providing enough water along with a stimulatory effect on the colon keeping one regular.   Obviously it is important to walk or become involved with regular physical activity which acts to stimulate the colon when constipated.