A High Fiber Diet: Does It Really Matter?

April 11, 2008

Go to fullsize imageWe have been exposed to ads regarding the benefits of a high fiber diet.  We know it is good for our health but what does it do and where do we get these fiber rich products?

It has been shown in several studies that a high fiber diet can indeed lower ones risk to develop heart diseaese by as much as 30% as well as lower ones risk to develop diabetes and improve cholesterol.   We know it works well for roughage and therefore can prevent constipation and improve bowel habits.  In fact it was recommended as a way of preventing colon polyps and cancer BUT so far no long term studies have proven that fiber can indeed lower the risk for colon cancer.  Nonetheless, the multiple benefits we can get from eating a high fiber meals are more than enough to recommend intake of these products to our patients and the public in general.

But what are the best sources of fiber? Here is a list of the different kinds of fiber compiled by the Harvard School of Nutrition:

Sources of Fiber

Soluble Fiber

Insoluble Fiber

nuts and seedslegumes

  • dried peas
  • beans
  • lentils


whole grains

  • whole wheat breads
  • barley
  • couscous
  • brown rice
  • bulgur

whole-grain breakfast cereals
wheat bran

The best fiber source in several studies that proved a high fiber diet to be beneficial is the cereal based fiber or fiber from grains and those coming from fruits.  It is recommended that a diet with at least 21 to 38 gms of fiber should be taken per day.  On an average Filipino diet, we are only consuming at most less than 15 gms of fiber per day so we better bulk it up more with the sources mentioned in the table for health reasons.  Increase the fiber intake gradually rather that abruptly and to make sure we also increase the intake of water ans fiber absorbs water.

What Do I recommend: here’s a sample advise that I give to my patients:

  • Avoid fruit juices as they are devoid of fiber, instead eat whole fruits.
  • Eat brown rice instead of white rice
  • Buy whole grain products instead of white bread and pasta.
  • Try snacking with raw veggies..they may not be as yummy as a pastry BUT they are triple times  as healthy.
  • Choose whole-grain cereals for breakfast instead of rice and sausage! 
  • Eat Right By Eating Healthy..Try FIBER!


    One Response to “A High Fiber Diet: Does It Really Matter?”

    1. wellsphere Says:

      Great article, thanks for sharing it! Would love to feature you on Wellsphere.com, a site that helps people to live healthier. Can’t find a contact form so thought I’d comment; look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Larisa

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