High Fiber & Whole Grains

March 17, 2019 / / 3-in-1 program, Behavior changes, Healthy Eating

We’ve never met a whole grain we didn’t like!

Commonly known as bulk or roughage, fiber is the part of plant foods that our bodies cannot digest.

Increasing Fiber intake expands the walls of the colon, and makes it easier to pass waste through the body.

American Dietetic Association recommends that adults consume between 25 and 35 grams of fiber each day.

Eating a diet that is high in fiber has several potential health benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Decrease of Stroke
  • Decrease of Type-2 diabetes
  • Can help control diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, gallstones, hiatal hernia, high blood pressure, and stroke- can also promote weight loss.
  • Recently questions have surfaced about the connection between fiber intake and cancer risk- as various studies have sought to determine if higher levels of dietary fiber can decrease cancer risk. Though the connection to cancer risk has not been established, the other known benefits of fiber make it an important part of a balanced diet.

-High Fiber foods can be healthy for reasons other than their fiber content, which brings the question to if fiber is the healthful component. A high-fiber diet is a commonly recommended treatment for digestive problems (individual results vary), such as:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • And Hemorrhoids

-Although individual results may vary, the scientific evidence supporting this recommendation is weak.

http://time.com/5499365/fiber-lowers-risk-disease/

WHAT IS FIBER?:

-There is no single dietary “fiber”.

-Fiber was traditionally considered the substance found in the outer layers of grains or plants, and which was not digested in the intestines.

-Most dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed, so it stays within the intestine, where it modulates digestion of other foods and affects the consistency of stool.

– There are two types of fiber, each which is thought to have its own benefits, such as:

  • Soluble fiber consisting of a group of substances that is made of carbohydrates. Soluble fiber dissolves in water forming gelatinous substances in the colon and helping delay stomach emptying. Consuming this type of fiber can help reduce cholesterol as well as aid in the controlling blood sugars, which is important for the people with diabetes. Examples of food containing soluble fibers include fruits, oats, barley, and legumes (peas and beans).
  • Insoluble fibers come from plant cell walls, and do not dissolve in water. Examples of food containing insoluble fiber includes wheat, rye, and other grains. Traditional fiber (wheat bran) is a type of insoluble fiber.
  • Dietary Fiber is the sum of all soluble and insoluble fiber.

BENEFITS OF HIGH-FIBER DIET:

-There are several potential benefits of eating a diet with high-fiber content:

  • Insoluble fibers (such as wheat bran, and some fruits and vegetables) have been recommended to treat digestive problems, such as:
    • Constipation
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Chronic Diarrhea
    • And Fecal Incontinence
  • Fiber bulks the stool, making it softer and easier to pass.
  • Fiber helps the stool pass regularly, although it does not act as a laxative.
  • Soluble Fiber (such as psyllium, pectin, wheat dextrin, and oat products) can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, and stroke by 40%-50% (compared to a low fiber diet).
  • Soluble fiber can also reduce the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. In people who have diabetes (type 1 and 2), soluble fiber can help to control blood glucose levels.
  • It is not clear if a high-fiber diet is beneficial for people with irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulosis. Fiber may be helpful to some people with these diagnoses, while it may worsen symptoms in others.
  • Fiber Supplement (soluble): psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, calcium, polycarbophil **add slowly to diet**

LIST OF SOLUBLE FIBER:

-Whole grain cereals and seeds:

  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
  • Oatbran
  • Psyllium seeds (ground)

– Fruits:

  • Apples (with skin)
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Citrus (such as oranges and grapefruits)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Prunes

-Legumes:

  • Black Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Northern Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Yellow Lentils
  • Green Lentils
  • Orange Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Black-eyed peas

-Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots

Dig in folks!

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Author: Dr. Becky

Dr. Becky is a board-certified Obesity and Gynecology physician with over 30 years’ experience providing support and guidance for her patients.

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Dr. Becky

Rebecca Burdette, MD

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