Adding Fiber to Your Diet

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All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, contain fiber. Therefore, as you will see from the suggestions provided here, it is very easy to add fiber to your diet. There is one word of caution, however: it is best to add fiber to your diet gradually. A rapid increase in fiber intake can cause stomach and intestinal distress, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea—conditions that sometimes may be wrongly associated with a gluten reaction. But if you increase fiber intake gradually, you reduce the chance of developing these symptoms.

High-Fiber Fruits. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, the most recent edition of a guide published jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture, a person requiring 2,000 calories a day should consume 2 cups (four servings) of fruit each day. A ^-cup serving of fruit is equivalent to xh cup of fresh fruit or V cup of dried fruit.

While all fruits contain fiber, some are better sources than others. The following table identifies some of the best fruit sources of fiber per serving.

Fruit Sources of Fiber Containing at Least 2.5 Grams of Fiber per Serving

Food

Serving Size

Dietary Fiber

Raspberries (raw)

V2 cup

4.0 grams

Blackberries (raw)

V2 cup

3.8 grams

Figs (dried)

%% cup (approximately 4 figs)

3.7 grams

Dates, chopped

%% cup

3.6 grams

Prunes

% cup

3.1 grams

(approximately 5 prunes)

Pear

V2 cup (approximately

2.8 grams

medium pear)

Kiwi

V2 cup (approximately 1 kiwi)

2.7 grams

High-Fiber Vegetables. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person requiring 2,000 calories a day should consume 2^ cups (five servings) of vegetables each day. A ^-cup serving of vegetables is equivalent to xh cup of cooked vegetables, xh cup of raw vegetables, or 1 cup of raw leafy green vegetables.

While all vegetables contain fiber, some are better sources than others. The following table identifies some of the best vegetable sources of fiber per serving.

Vegetable Sources of Fiber Containing at Least 2.5 Grams of Fiber per Serving

Food

Serving Size

Dietary Fiber

Artichoke hearts (cooked)

V2 cup

4.5 grams

Green peas (frozen, cooked)

V2 cup

4.4 grams

Spinach (frozen, cooked)

V2 cup

3.5 grams

Squash, winter (cooked)

V2 cup

2.9 grams

Parsnips (cooked)

V2 cup

2.8 grams

Broccoli (cooked)

V2 cup

2.6 grams

Turnip greens (cooked)

V2 cup

2.5 grams

Legumes: Dried Beans, Peas, and Lentils. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person requiring 2,000 calories a day should consume 3 cups of legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils) a week. When you think of beans, you may think only of whole beans, but a variety of products are made from beans, including flour, pasta, and breakfast cereal. Appendix C lists manufacturers of gluten-free foods made from beans. Also, see Chapter 6 for recipes using beans.

Dietary Fiber Content of Selected Legumes

Food

Serving Size

Dietary Fiber

Navy beans (cooked)

V2 cup

9.6 grams

Split peas (cooked)

V2 cup

8.1 grams

Lentils (cooked)

V2 cup

7.8 grams

Pinto beans (cooked)

V2 cup

7.7 grams

Black beans (cooked)

V2 cup

7.5 grams

Kidney beans, red (cooked)

V2 cup

6.5 grams

Baked beans (cooked)

V2 cup

5.2 grams

Gluten-Free Whole Grains. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person requiring 2,000 calories a day should consume six 1-ounce-equivalent servings of grain foods daily, and at least three of these servings should be whole grains. As I mentioned earlier in this chapter, whole grains contain all three components of the grain kernel: the outer fiber-rich bran layer, the nutrient-rich germ, and the starchy endosperm. Refined grains contain only the endosperm.

Science Class

Oats contain a type of dietary fiber called beta-glucan soluble fiber. Consuming at least 3 grams of this type of fiber from oats each day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by decreasing blood levels of cholesterol. The evidence supporting the cholesterol-lowering effects of oats prompted the Food and Drug Administration to allow a health claim for oats on food labels. Three grams of soluble fiber are found in 60 grams (% cup) of dry rolled oats. This amount is slightly more than the moderate amount (50 grams) of oats recommended for consumption for persons with celiac disease.

If you are considering adding this grain to your diet, please read the section on oats (Chapter 2). If you do eat oats, they can be a great source of fiber, but be careful not to overdo it.

Gluten-free whole grains include popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain corn, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, oats, and teff. Look for products where one of these grains is listed as the first ingredient. Some gluten-free grain foods are made from a mixture of whole grains and refined grains. Appendix C lists manufacturers of gluten-free products made with whole grains.

Use the nutrition label to choose products with at least 2.5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. One ounce (approximately 28 grams) of a gluten-free grain food is equivalent to one serving. For example, according to the food label on a particular brand of packaged brown-rice cakes, one rice cake weighs 9 grams. Therefore, a 1-ounce-equivalent serving of rice cakes would be approximately three rice cakes. See Appendix B for tips on using the Nutrition Facts label.

Dietary Fiber Content of Selected Gluten-Free Whole Grains

and Flours

Food

Serving Size

Dietary Fiber

Teff grain (raw)

% cup (45 grams)

6.0 grams

Amaranth seed (raw)

% cup (49 grams)

4.5 grams

Buckwheat groats (raw)

% cup (41 grams)

4.2 grams

Millet grits (raw)

% cup (50 grams)

4.2 grams

Popcorn

1 ounce (approximately

4.1 grams

2V2 cups)

Millet flour

% cup (30 grams)

4.0 grams

Oats (raw)

% cup (40 grams)

4.0 grams

Teff flour

% cup (30 grams)

4.0 grams

Amaranth flour

% cup (30 grams)

3.0 grams

Buckwheat flour

% cup (30 grams)

3.0 grams

Sorghum, white (raw)

% cup (48 grams)

3.0 grams

Sorghum flour

% cup (34 grams)

3.0 grams

Quinoa seed (raw)

% cup (43 grams)

2.5 grams

Whole-grain corn flour

% cup (29 grams)

2.1 grams

Brown rice (cooked)

V2 cup

1.8 grams

Brown-rice flour

% cup (40 grams)

1.8 grams

Wild rice (cooked)

V2 cup

1.5 grams

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