We all hear about fiber and how good it's supposed to be. Well let me tell you about fiber and why I recommend eating at least 30 grams a day.
Confused by fiber? You're not alone. Most people are.
Fiber is the undigested form of carbohydrates; it adds bulk to your diet. But you don't have to know all the ins and outs of fiber to get the benefits from it. When you eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits, you usually get most of the fiber you need.
And that means you'll also be lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and constipation.
Officially, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals, and beans.
Fruit juices and vegetable juices are NOT good sources of fiber.
Fiber basically makes you feel full and keeps you full for a longer period of time which means you don’t eat as much. Fiber does not have calories so diets high in fiber tend to be low in calories.
I recommend to all my clients to eat at least 8 grams of fiber for breakfast, 8 grams of fiber for lunch and 8 to 10 grams of fiber for dinner. I also recommend snacking on fiber foods throughout the day and shoot for a goal of 3 to 5 grams of fiber per snack time.
A good breakfast item with lots of fiber is whole unprocessed oatmeal... not that instant stuff, YUCK!! Other good sources include high-fiber bread (at least 3 grams of fiber per slice), and other whole grain English muffins or pita bread. I recommend getting pita breads and English muffins with at least 5 grams of fiber.
Also good sources are whole fruits or vegetables, and flour tortillas with at least 5 grams of fiber per tortilla.
I have seen tortillas with 20 grams of fiber. This seems a bit much. I make my kids' quesadillas with a flour tortilla with 11 grams of fiber. This is a very healthy snack or meal since most kids gets less than 5 grams of fiber per day.
The general rule of thumb for kids is to take their age and add 5 to get the total number of fiber grams per day. For instance, my 6 year old should get at least 11 grams of fiber a day.
For us adults, 30 to 40 grams a day is ideal.
You can get 10 grams of fiber from a tasty stir-fry of broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, carrots... and any other veggie you enjoy! Heat up with a little olive or peanut oil and enjoy.
Along with a high-fiber diet, I encourage drinking lots of water -- at least 64 ounces a day. Fiber without water is like cement in a garden hose without water -- you could get plugged up. Eating a high-fiber diet with plenty of drinking water will keep you regular and feeling very full without all the calories.
Check out the original Diet.com feature on Levinson's Buff Dad book.
Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietician who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow and Sean Rooks. He also worked as a nutritionist for the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders.