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Where Is Your Fiber Coming From?

The topic of fiber in one's diet is always on the burner. It's interesting, important and often frustrating for those of us attempting to lead by example and teach. For those just discovering the fiber content of Quest Protein Bars, for example, and chomping three or four daily thinking they're getting sufficient good fiber, please read and learn from my good friend and colleague Krystin Deneen.

In one of her regular emails to her personal clients, Krystin hit all the hot topics. She clearly explains the crucial differences between fiber on a nutrition label and fiber in real food. I was so taken with the clarity of her message I asked if I could reprint her email on the site. Krystin is happy to share. Read and learn:

In checking client food logs and my daily conversations about food I have had countless accounts of hearing concerns of getting enough fiber. Most of these conversations end with a client telling me their method of doing so is cereal, bars of some sort, and bread. While the grams of fiber may be high on the label it may not be doing what you think it's doing, and it comes at a heavy price. 

Let me explain. The fiber in highly processed foods like muffins, fiber-bars, and whole grain toast or cereal has been through a refining procedure that basically removes the natural fiber found in plants making them poor sources. The price you pay is the insulin spike from the sugar that is in almost all of these processed foods or the glucose that it's form of carbohydrate is converted into. (The fat causing spike from a piece of white bread is almost the same as from a piece of "high-fiber-whole-grain"bread.) These products are made up of mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein and fat. Carbohydrates are either starch, sugar, fiber, or all three. The problem is that the fiber percentage in these products is actually low. Fancy labels and marketing cause us to think they are higher than plants, but they aren't. Check it out:

Percentage fiber (as % of their carbs*) 
Brown Rice 4% 
Corn 7%
Oats 11%
Whole Wheat 12%
Barley 17%
Kamut 19%


Percentage fiber (as % of their carbs*) 

Apple 15% 

Pear 23% 

Apricot 25% 

Red Pepper 25% 

Carrot 29%

 Kale 33% 

White Mushrooms 33% 

Celery 50% 

Spinach 50%

What do these percentages mean? Well, here's an example to make this easier to understand: 1 Cup of raw Spinach is a total of 7 Calories and 1.1 Carbohydrates with 3.5 grams of Fiber while 1 Cup of Whole Grain Cereal Flakes is 170 Calories and 41 Carbohydrates (41!!!) with 5 grams of Fiber.

I think you know where I'm going with this email.

So let's go over some facts.

-Health experts say the recommended daily intake of fiber is between 25-35 grams per day.

-The benefits of fiber include its ability to stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, decrease risk of colon cancer, prevent constipation, and support a healthy body weight.

-There are soluble and insoluble fibers:

                                   Soluble Fibers: 

attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full,which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

                                             Insoluble Fiber:  

considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. These fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables.

-Good sources of Soluble and Insoluble Fibers


oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.


seeds, nuts, brown rice, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, and root vegetable skins.

Still need proof and ideas? Keep reading.


Plant        Measurement         Fiber(g)


Spinach raw                     1 Cup                                 3.5 g

Spinach cooked               1/2 Cup                              7 g

Kale, Swiss Chard

and Collard Greens          1 Cup                                 8 g

Raspberries                      1 Cup                                 8 g

Pears (skin on)                  1 Med                                5.5 g

Apple (skin on)                 1 Med                               4.4

Blackberries                      1/2 Cup                            3.8 g     

Mango                              1 Med                              3.3 g

Sweet Potato                    5 oz                                  4 g


Split peas, cooked

1 cup


Lentils, cooked

1 cup


Black beans, cooked

1 cup


Lima beans, cooked

1 cup


Artichoke, cooked

1 medium


Green peas, cooked

1 cup


Broccoli, boiled

1 cup



Where are you getting your fiber?

Krystin Deneen

Xperience Fitness, Appleton 


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