Dietary Fiber – Tips & Tricks

Learning how to change your eating habits (especially bad eating habits) can take a lot of hard work over many months. But changing your diet (or lifestyle) to include more fiber doesn’t need to be difficult.

In fact, it can be as simple as opening a can of baked beans, eating whole fruits (skins intact) rather than drinking fruit juices, replacing white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products and, of course, eating breakfast – the most important meal of the day, as it’s likely to pack the highest amount of fiber.

The key to maintaining a fiber-rich diet, according to health professionals, is practicing both patience and perseverance and getting a little creative in the kitchen.

claims-that-implyIt also means knowing the difference between a whole tomato (which has more fiber) than peeled tomatoes, for example, and paying close attention – at least in the beginning – to food labels.

Specific health claims can only be made for food products that meet specific requirements. For example, in order to make a health claim about fiber and coronary heart disease, the food must contain at least 0.6 grams of soluble fiber per reference amount.

Likewise, a statement such as “made with oat bran” or “high in oat bran” implies that a product contains a considerable amount of the nutrient. Claims that imply a product contains a particular amount of fiber can be made only if the food actually meets the definition for “high fiber” or “good source of fiber,” whichever is appropriate.

“High fiber” has five or more grams per serving, a “good source of fiber” has 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving and “more or added fiber” has at least 2.5 grams.

A solid shopping list, containing the calorie and fiber content of all foods, is also recommended. Dieticians say it’s best to purchase with a plan and menus in mind.

If you’re looking to increase the amount of fiber you consume on a daily basis (the recommended amount is between 25 and 30 grams) remember to eat several servings of a variety of fiber-rich foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dried beans) each day and choose from a variety to avoid getting tired or falling off track. And don’t forget, when you’re spicing up a salad dish with dash of salt and pepper, sprinkle on some nuts as well. They’re not only packed with nutrients, but they’re super-high in fiber, too.

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