Fiber Facts

Colorectal Specialists serving Kansas City

The highly trained colorectal specialists at Colorectal Surgical Associates have provided this list of fiber facts to help patients better understand how fiber can help promote colorectal health.  If you have more questions about fiber consumption or are experiencing symptoms of a colorectal condition. Call our colorectal surgical office at 816-941-0800 to request an appointment.

What is Fiber?

  • Fiber is the carbohydrate or starch that our bodies cannot digest
  • Fiber acts as a broom to sweep out the digestive tract
  • Dietary fiber is found only in plant food
  • Common food sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

What types of Fiber are there?

There are two types of fiber: insoluble fiber and water-soluble fiber.

  1. Insoluble Fiber passes through the guy quickly:
    • It can prevent constipation
    • It can help prevent infections of the gut
    • It can help prevent hemorrhoids, heart disease, and some types of cancer
    • Food sources include fruit with skins, uncooked vegetables, nuts, legumes, bran, brown rice, and whole-grain flours
  2. Water Soluble Fiber acts like a sponge in the gut
    • The soluble fiber in food, such as oats, binds with cholesterol and remove it from the bloodstream
    • It can help lower blood sugar because it slows how fast foods are digested. Soluble fiber is important if you have diabetes
    • It may help firm stool and reduce diarrhea
    • Food sources include oats, oat bran, barley, dried beans, vegetables and fruits, such as applesauce, strawberries, potatoes, citrus, and prunes

How can Fiber help me lose weight?

  • Fiber helps you feel full because it stays in your gut for a longer period of time. This helps prevent overeating because you are not so hungry
  • High fiber diets are lower in calories and fat
  • Fiber makes you chew foods more, so you tend to eat SLOWER

How much fiber should I be eating?

  • The American Dietetic Association recommends eating 20 to 30 GRAMS OF FIBER PER DAY
  • Most people are only about 15 grams of fiber a day
  • If you are not in the habit of eating a high fiber diet, you may have problems with gas in the beginning. Start slowly and be sure that are you are drinking 6 to 8 cups of water a day.

How can I get more Fiber in my diet?

  • Snack on fresh or dried fruit instead of candy. Choose fruit cobbler, whole-wheat bran, or fruit muffins in place of desserts.
  • Use bean dips such as black bean, hummus, and refried beans with whole grain crackers or vegetables instead of sour cream. Include at least 4 services of lentils or beans each week.
  • Add wheat germ to hot cereals or yogurt. Trying adding bran cereal or oatmeal to replace breadcrumbs in the meatloaf.
  • Try air-popped popcorn without butter or fat-free microwave popcorn instead of potato chips.
  • Substitute whole-wheat for ¼ to ½ of the total amount of white flour needed in recipes. The rest of the flour can come from white flour.
  • Include at least 3 servings of whole grains and cereals each day(whole wheat, oats, brown rice, bran or barley)
  • Choose 5 or more servings of fruit or vegetables each day

Download PDF to Print and More Information