Dietary fiber is another type of carbohydrate. Fiber, while technically a carbohydrate, is not digested at all by the body and thus does not contribute to your calorie intake. Dietary fiber fills you up without adding calories which is very important to keeping you healthy. The higher the fiber content in a food, the lower the calorie density, which makes a high fiber diet important for weight loss as you will see.
It is recommended that women get 22-28 grams of fiber daily and men 28-34 grams daily. High fiber diets have been strongly linked to lower heart disease and diabetes risk. The standard American diet is very low in dietary fiber. Some healthy cultures where heart disease was very rare had fiber intake above 100 g per day!
Foods that are high in fiber include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lentils, legumes and nuts
- Whole grains
There is no fiber at all in any meat (beef/pork/poultry/shrimp/seafood) or in any dairy product.
Some examples of specific foods and their fiber content include:
So how do you look at labels to be sure your food has enough fiber? First of all, if the item has a label, automatically it may not be ideal. Remember in the produce depeartment fruits, vegetables, bulk beans/legumes, nuts/seeds have no label! They will be good fiber sources. When a food item does have a label, ideally be sure that for every 5g of carbohydrates there would be at least 1g of fiber making the carbohydrate to fiber ratio 5:1 or less.
Here are some more import resources about fiber in your diet: