The Scoop On Fiber

Leaves and twigs . . . colon-blow . . . whatever you call it (these are some of my husband's favorite disparaging terms for fiber), we've been hearing it for a while, now - "eat fiber."  But even I find it hard to get 25-30 grams of fiber into my daily diet, and I eat a ton of fruits and veggies and very little processed food.  And then there is the matter of all those new foods with fiber added - yogurt with fiber!?  Fiber in a diet drink?  I don't go for those sorts of Franken-foods, but a lot people do, and so one wonders . . . is the fiber that's added to those as good for you as the naturally-occurring stuff?

Turns out it's not, according to the Center For Science In The Public Interest.  Their article, "Fiber Free For All," was published in the Nutrition Action Healthletter last summer, but to date it's the best run-down on fiber I've seen. 

One strategy for getting your requisite grams is to start off your day with a bowl of high-fiber cereal, or a high-fiber, low-calorie bran muffin like these from the Zen Bakery.  Little tip from me - Trader Joe's sells these under their own name - they're called "Apple Cranberry Bran Muffins," and they're much better if you heat them a little in the microwave before you eat them.  Word to the wise!  They are VERY fiber-y and a bit of an acquired taste . . . but they'll give you a good boost of fiber for only 80 cal.  I eat one of these almost every morning (along with 3/4 c. of Fage 0% yogurt and some fruit).

For snacks or an on-the-go breakfast, Gnu Foods makes some great fiber bars.  They're higher in calories, around 130 per bar depending on the flavor, but each bar has 12 grams of fiber, and the flavors are tasty - and they're a lot less hardcore than the cakes.  The Cinnamon Raisin and Orange Cranberry flavors are my favorites.  I've been eating these since they were first launched, and now they're available at most Whole Foods - you can buy a few and see which flavors appeal to you.

Page 6 of the CSPI article has a list of foods and their fiber counts - try something new this week, bulgur pilaf, perhaps?  Get those numbers up!