“Less than 3 % of Americans get even the recommended minimum daily intake of fiber. On average, we only get about 15 grams a day. The minimum daily requirement is 31.5 grams, so most of us are getting less than half the minimum. Men are particular deficient.” Dr. Michael Greger
Fiber helps us feel satisfied with less calories and helps our bodies remove excess toxins and hormones. Without adequate fiber, hormones and chemicals are continuously reabsorbed back into our blood streams; therefore, allowing the harmful substances to say in our body longer than they should.
Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley, and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and dissolve in water (like when you cook oatmeal) and is known for its ability to help control cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber is found in wheat, rice, and many other grains. This fiber does not get gooey like fiber and acts as tiny scrub brushes and keeps the intestinal contents moving.
Use the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) fiber check tool to assess and improve your fiber intake.
Track what you eat, calculate your food fiber score and your daily total fiber check score.
For each serving of beans or lentils (one serving = 1/2 cup) or any food that includes about this amount of beans or lentils) – 7 points
One cup of soymilk or 1/2 cup tofu – 1 point
For each serving of vegetables (one serving = 1 cup) – 4 points, lettuce = 2 points
Medium piece of fruit (apple, banana, 1 cup of applesauce, banana smoothie) – 3 points, one cup of juice = 1 point
Whole grains (100% whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, bran, brown rice) score higher than processed grains (bagel, white pasta, white rice) – 1 point = processed grains, 2 points = whole-wheat processed grains, 3 points = whole grains, 4 points = oatmeal, 8 points = bran.
Meat, Poultry, Fish
Eggs and Dairy
There is more than enough fiber in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Animal products do not have any fiber at all. The average American gets only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day. Our goal should be to achieve more than 40 grams per day.
Check your quick fiber daily score:
Less than 20 – You need more fiber in your diet. As of now, you may be having a hard time regulating your appetite and may have occasional constipation. If you boost your daily fiber intake, you will be able to improve your appetite and improve your overall health.
20-39 – You are doing better than most Americans; however, if you increase your fiber intake you will be able to reduce calorie content and improve food satisfaction.
40 or more – Good job, you have plenty of fiber in your diet. This will reduce your appetite and keep you healthy!
Remember, fiber is your friend! You may have an opportunity to incorporate more than enough fiber throughout the day and at each meal and snack.
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