Nutrition Tip of the Week – Importance of Fiber

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Feb 27

Nutrition Tip of the Week – Importance of Fiber


By – Get You In Shape Personal Trainer Julie McCAN

Most people know that fiber is an important element of our daily diets.  Given all the press and attention it gets from Cheerio commercials to shows like Dr. Oz, I give people the benefit of the doubt they know fiber can reduce their risk of cardio vascular disease as well as lowering total cholesterol specifically the bad kind, LDL and those not so nice triglycerides.  In addition to these benefits, fiber can also aid in weight loss, reduce your risk of cancer, and improve your mental health.

So if my assumption is correct that the benefits of fiber are known, why don’t most American’s get enough fiber in their diets?

My conclusion that people do not get enough fiber in their diets is based on an article I read recently in IDEA Fitness Journal that stated, “dietary fiber is underconsumed across all segments of the population, with usual intakes averaging only 15 g/dy (ADA 2008). According to data compiled during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2003–2004, average intakes of dietary fiber from food were 15–18.3 g/dy for adult men and 12.3–13.8 g/dy for adult women (CDC 2003–2004).”

Although the data is from a few years back, my guess is that it is still true.  I base this guess on two things: 1) During our recent Journal Mania contest, I got the opportunity to review and comment on a number of client journals.  The biggest and most common omission from their diets was the lack of fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts (a.k.a fiber). At best, there was a very limited amount of calories coming from these foods.  2) I very rarely see the guidelines consistently and well documented on how much fiber is enough.

OK, I realize that my “guess” is not based on scientific data and I do not consider myself a nutrition expert, but I believe information is power.  And, if American’s had easy to access, readily available information about what constitutes fiber and how much of it they should be eating, we may see more consumption.  Dreaming?  Maybe.

Regardless of what I see as fiber information utopia, it may be useful for readers and viewers of the GetYouInShape.com blog to have a quick reference and guidelines for fiber intake.  In 2002, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established and published guidelines for fiber.  Their recommended intake for total fiber for:Health_Tips

  • Adults 50 years and younger is set at:
    • 38 grams for men
    • 25 grams for women
  • Adults over 50:
    • 30 grams for men
    • 21 grams for women

Given these guidelines and the facts from the survey noted above, Americans need to eat approximately 10 to 18 grams more per day.  Since the guidelines are roughly based on calorie consumption, it stands to reason that the more active you are, the more fiber you should consume.  The chart below from the IDEA Fitness Journal provides some examples of fiber choices that can be easily incorporated into your diets.

For more information about fiber, check out the source information listed below.

Source:  IDEA Fitness Journal, March 2011

Source:  Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Fiber Chart
foods arranged alphabetically
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Food Portion Calories Fiber (grams)

Almonds
slivered 1 tbsp 14 0.6
sliced 1/4 cup 56 2.4
Apple
raw 1 small 55-60* 3.0
raw 1 med 70 4.0
raw 1 large 80-100* 4.5
baked 1 large 100 5.0
applesauce 2/3 cup 182 3.6
Apricots
raw 1 whole 17 0.8
dried 2 halves 36 1.7
canned in syrup 3 halves 86 2.5
*Important as dietary fiber is, laboratory technicians have not yet been able to ascertain the exact total content in many foods, especially vegetables and fruits, because of its complexity. Consequently, estimates vary from one source to another. Where differing estimates have been found, an approximation is given in the chart, as indicated by an asterisk. The same symbol following calorie content means the number of calories has been estimated, varying according to other added ingredients, especially fats and sugars, and to the size of the “average” fruit or vegetable unit.
Artichokes
cooked l large 30-44* 4.5
canned hearts 4 or 5 sm 24 4.5
Asparagus
cooked, small spears
1/2 cup 17 1.7
Avocado
diced 1/4 cup 97 1.7
sliced 2 slices 50 0.9
whole 1/2 avg.size 170 2.8
Bacon
flavored chips (imitation)
1 tbsp 32 0.7*
Baked beans
in sauce (8-oz can)
1 cup 180* 16.0
with pork & molasses
1 cup 200-260* 16.0
Baked potato (see Potatoes)
Banana 1 med 8″ 96 3.0
Beans
black, cooked 1 cup 190 19.4
broad beans (Italian, haricot)
3/4 cup 30 3.0
Great Northern 1 cup 160 16.0
kidney beans,
canned or 1/2 cup 94 9.7
cooked 1 cup 188 19.4
lima, Fordhook baby, butter beans
1/2 cup 118 3.7
lima, dried
canned or cooked 1/2 cup 150 5.8
pinto, dried
before cooking 1/2 cup 155 18.8
canned or cooked 1 cup 155 18.8
white, dried
before cooking 1/2 cup 160 16.0
canned or cooked 1/2 cup 80 8.0
(See also Green (snap) beans,
(Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils)
Bean sprouts, raw
in salad 1/4 cup 7 0.8
Beet greens, cooked (see Greens)
Beets
cooked, sliced 1/2 cup 33 2.5
whole 3 sm. 48 3.7*
Blackberries
raw, no sugar 1/2 cup 27 4.4
canned, in juice pack
1/2 cup 54 5.0
jam, with seeds 1 tbsp 60 0.7
Bran meal
3 tbsp 28 6.0
1 tbsp 9 2.0
Bran muffins (see Muffins)
Brazil nuts
shelled 2 48 2.5
Bread
Boston brown 2 slices 100 4.0*
cracked wheat 2 slices 120 3.6
high-bran “health” bread 2 slices 120-160* 7.0*
white 2 slices 160 1.9
dark rye (whole grain)
2 slices 108 5.8*
pumpernickel 2 slices 116 4.0
seven-grain 2 slices 111-140 6.5
whole wheat 2 slices 120 6.0
whole wheat raisin
2 slices 140 6.5
Bread crumbs
whole wheat 1 tbsp 22 2.5*
Broccoli
raw 1/2 cup 20 4.0
frozen 4 spears 20 5.0
fresh, cooked 3/4 cup 30 7.0
Brussel sprouts
cooked 3/4 cup 36 3.0
Buckwheat groats (kasha)
before cooking 1/2 cup 160 9.6*
cooked 1 cup 160 9.6
Bulgur, soaked
cooked 1 cup 160 9.6*
Cabbage, white or red
raw 1/2 cup 8 1.5
cooked 2/3 cup 15 3.0
Cantaloupe
1/4 38 1.0*
Carrots
raw, slivered (4-5 sticks)
1/4 cup 10 1.7
cooked 1/2 cup 20 3.4
Catsup, see Tomatoes
Cauliflower
raw, chopped 3 tiny buds 10 1.2
cooked, chopped 7/8 cup 16 2.3
Celery, Pascal
raw 1/4 cup 5 2.0
chopped 2 tbsp 3 1.0
cooked 1/2 cup 9 3.0
Cereal
All-Bran 3 tbsp 35 5.0
1/2 cup 90 10.4
(1-1/2 oz)
Bran Buds 3 tbsp 35 5.0
1/2 cup 90 10.4
(1-1/2 oz)
Bran Chex 2/3 cup 90 5.0
Bran Flakes, plain 1cup 90 5.0
with raisins 1 cup 110 6.0
Cornflakes 3/4 cup 70 2.6
Cracklin’ Bran 1/2 cup 110 4.0
most cereals 1 cup 200 8.0
oatmeal 3/4 cup 212 7.7
Nabisco 100% Bran
1/2 cup 105 4.0
Puffed wheat 1 cup 43 3.3
Raisin Bran 1 cup 195 5.0
Wheatena 2/3 cup 101 2.2
Wheaties 1 cup 104 2.0
Cherries
sweet, raw 10 28 1.2
1/2 cup 55* 1.0*
Chestnuts
roasted 2 lg 29 1.9
Chickpeas (garbanzos)
canned 1/2 cup 86 6.0
cooked 1 cup 172 12.0
Coconut, dried
sweetened 1 tbsp 46 3.4*
unsweetened 1 tbsp 22 3.4*
Corn (sweet)
on cob 1 med ear 64-70* 5.0
kernels, cooked or canned
1/2 cup 64 5.0
cream-style, canned
1/2 cup 64 5.0
succotash (with limas)
1/2 cup 66 7.0
Cornbread
1 sq. (2 1/2″) 93 3.4
Crackers
cream 2 50 0.4
graham 2 53 1.4
Ry-Krisp 3 64 2.3
Triscuits 2 50 2.0
Wheat Thins 6 58 2.2
Cranberries
raw 1/4 cup 12 2.0
sauce 1/2 cup 245 4.0
cranberry-orange relish
1 tbsp 56 0.5
Cucumber, raw
unpeeled 10 thin sl 12 0.7
Dates, pitted
2 (1/2 oz.) 39 1.2*
Eggplant
baked with tomatoes
2 thick sl 42 4.0
Endive, raw
salad 10 leaves 10 0.6
English muffins (see Muffins)
Figs
dried 3 120 10.5
fresh 1 30 2.0
Fruit N’ Fiber
cereal 1/2 cup 90 3.5
Graham crackers (see Crackers)
Grapefruit
1/2 (avg. size) 30 0.8
Grapes
white 20 75 1.0
red or black 15-20 65 1.0
Green (snap) beans
fresh or frozen 1/2 cup 10 2.1
Green peas (see Peas)
Green peppers (see Peppers)
Greens, cooked
collards, beet greens , dandelion, kale,
Swiss chard, turnip greens
1/2 cup 20 4.0
Honeydew melon
3″ slice 42 1.5
Kasha (see Buckwheat groats)
Lasagne (see Macaroni)
Lentils
brown, raw 1/3 cup 144 5.5
brown, cooked 2/3 cup 144 5.5
red, raw 1/2 cup 192 6.4
red, cooked 1 cup 192 6.4
Lettuce
(Boston, leaf, iceberg)
shredded 1 cup 5 0.8
Macaroni
whole wheat, cooked
1 cup 200 5.7
regular, frozen with cheese, baked
10 oz 506 2.2
Muffins
English, whole wheat
1 whole 125* 3.7
bran, whole wheat
2 136 4.6
Mushrooms
raw 5 sm 4 1.4
sauteed or baked with 2 tsp diet margarine
4 lg 45 2.0
canned sliced, water-pack
1/4 cup 10 2.0
Noodles
whole wheat egg 1 cup 200 5.7
spinach whole wheat
1 cup 200 6.0
Okra
fresh or frozen, cooked
1/2 cup 13 1.6
Olives
green 6 42 1.2
black 6 96 1.2
Onion
raw 1 tbsp 4 0.2
cooked 1/2 cup 22 1.5
instant minced 1 tbsp 6 0.3
green, raw (scallion)
1/4 cup 11 0.8
Orange
1 lg 70 2.4
1 sm 35 1.2
Parsley, chopped
2 tbsp 4 0.6
1 tbsp 2 0.3
Parsnip, pared
cooked 1 lg 76 2.8
1 sm 38 1.4
Peach
raw 1 med 38 2.3
canned in light syrup
2 halves 70 1.4
Peanut butter
1 tbsp 86 1.1
homemade 1 tbsp 70 1.5
Peanuts
dry roasted 1 tbsp 52 1.1
Pear
1 med 88 4.0
Peas
green, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup 60 9.1
black-eyed frozen/canned
1/2 cup 74 8.0
split peas, dried
1/2 cup 63 6.7
cooked 1 cup 126 13.4
(See also Chickpeas)
Peas and carrots
frozen 1/2 package 40 6.2
(5 oz)
Peppers
green sweet, raw 2 tbsp 4 0.3
green sweet, cooked
1/2 cup 13 1.2
red sweet (pimento)
2 tbsp 9 1.0
red chili, fresh 1 tbsp 7 1.2
dried, crushed 1 tsp 7 1.2
Pimento (see Peppers)
Pineapple
fresh, cubed 1/2 cup 41 0.8
canned 1 cup 58-74* 0.8
Plums
2 or 3 sm 38-45* 2.0
Popcorn
(no oil, butter or margarine)
1 cup 20 1.0
Potatoes
Idaho, baked 1 sm (6 oz) 120 4.2
1 med (7 oz) 140 5.0 all-purpose white/russet
1 sm 60 2.2
boiled 1 med (5 oz) 100 3.5
mashed potato (with 1 tbsp milk)
1/2 cup 85 3.0
sweet, baked or boiled
1 sm (5 oz) 146 4.0
(See also Yams)
Prunes
pitted 3 122 1.9
Radishes
3 5 0.1
Raisins
1 tbsp 29 1.0
Raspberries, red
fresh/frozen 1/2 cup 20 4.6
Raspberry jam
1 tbsp 75 1.0
Rhubarb,
cooked with sugar
1/2 cup 169* 2.9
Rice
white (before cooking)
1/2 cup 79 2.0
brown (before cooking)
1/2 cup 83 5.5
instant 1 serv 79 0.7
Rutabaga (yellow turnip)
1/2 cup 40 3.2
Sauerkraut
canned 2/3 cup 15 3.1
Scallion (see Onion)
Shredded wheat
large biscuit 1 piece 74 2.2
spoon size 1 cup 168 4.4
Spaghetti
whole wheat, plain
1 cup 200 5.6
with meat sauce 1 cup 396 5.6
with tomato sauce
1 cup 220 6.0
Spinach
raw 1 cup 8 3.5
cooked 1/2 cup 26 7.0
Split peas (see Peas)
Squash
summer (yellow) 1/2 cup 8 2.0
winter, baked or mashed
1/2 cup 40-50 3.5
zucchini, raw or cooked
1/2 cup 7 3.0
Strawberries
without sugar 1 cup 45 3.0
Succotash (see Corn)
Sunflower
kernels 1 tbsp 65 0.5*
Sweet pickle relish
relish 1 tbsp 60 0.5*
Sweet potatoes (see Potatoes)
Swiss chard (see Greens)
Tomatoes
raw 1 sm. 22 1.4
canned 1/2 cup 21 1.0
sauce 1/2 cup 20 0.5
catsup 1 tbsp 18 0.2
Tortillas
2 140 4.0*
Turnip, white
raw, slivered 1/4 cup 8 1.2
cooked 1/2 cup 16 2.0
Walnuts
English, shelled, chopped
1 tbsp 49 1.1
Watercress
raw 1/2 cup 4 1.0
(20 sprigs)
Watermelon
1 thick slice 68 2.8
Wheat Thins (see Crackers)
Yams (orange fleshed sweet potato)
cooked or baked in skin
1 med (6oz) 156 6.8
Zucchini (see Squash)

Source – www.wehealny.org

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