Rate Your Fiber Intake

I teach athletic trainers and nursing students about nutrition.  One of my favorite lectures is on fiber.  We discuss in detail the benefits of a fiber rich diet which include reducing cholesterol and some forms of cancer, improving weight control, better disease management of diabetes and diverticular disease and the obvious elimination of constipation.  

Their eyes glaze over as I expound on the endless groups who advocate high fiber diets for better health including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Association, the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Health.  They correctly respond that the recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-38 grams and most agree that they probably don’t meet the requirements.  However, they shrink in their seats upon calculating how fiber poor their diet really is.  I ask them to write down everything they ate for the day and then calculate a fiber total using a chart similar to the one below.

The average female consumes 13.7 grams/day of fiber and the average male consumes only 18.5 grams/day.  College students typically fare worse because dorm food is known for pizza and pasta bars (and many beer bars)  more than fruit and salad bars.  How does your day stack up? 

To ensure your diet is fiber rich, make sure 1/2 your grocery cart is fruits and vegetables and that 1/2 your grain selection, is brown or whole grains.



Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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2 replies

  1. You raise a good point. This is a classic example of knowing versus doing. Most people know fiber is suggested but in their day to day schedule do not seek it out or know exactly how it adds up (or doesn’t). I have a friend and her family eats a fantastic, veggie heavy, diet. Her son went to sleep away camp and had terrible GI issues because of the lack of fiber. I should make sure I practice what I preach and go add up my fiber from yesterday!

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  2. Sometimes the topics I pick are reminder to me as well, “practice what you preach”. It’s time to cut up the fresh melon!

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