Getting Fiber on a Low Carb Diet

Discussion in 'Main Forum' started by newanatomy, Jul 26, 2014.

  1.  
    newanatomy

    newanatomy Well-Known Member

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    I have been trying to figure out the whole fiber/low carb problem in my diet. This article has some really great information. I thought I would share it here.


    Is It True that Low-Carb Diets Are Low in Fiber?:

    It is a common misconception that reduced carbohydrate diets are automatically low in fiber. In fact, most non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are quite high in fiber, and a well-constructed low-carb diet emphasizes vegetables and other sources of fiber. Unfortunately, most people, at least in the US, don’t get close to the recommended amounts of daily fiber, no matter how much carbohydrate they are eating! But there is no reason for you to be one of those people.
    What is Fiber?:
    Fiber is that part of plant food that is indigestible by humans. It passes through our digestive systems without being broken down and absorbed into our bloodstreams as other food components are. Think of a cow eating grass – that cow needs extra stomachs, chews its cud, etc, to digest the grass. We can’t digest grass because we don’t have specialized digestive systems. That indigestible stuff is fiber.
    How is Fiber Beneficial?:
    When people think of the benefits of fiber, they usually think of preventing constipation. It’s true that fiber bulks up our stool and tends to make people more “regular.” But fiber has other benefits as well, some of which are very pertinent to low-carb diets, including lowering the impact of sugars and starches on blood glucose. A high fiber diet is associated with lower risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and diverticular disease.
    What Are the Different Types of Fiber?:
    Fiber has three different properties that matter to human health. The property most nutritionists talk about is solubility, the ability to disperse in water. Soluble and insoluble fiber are the labels most commonly used to describe fiber. However, two other properties of fiber are turning out to be important: fermentability (how easily the fiber ferments in the colon), and viscosity (the ability to gel with water) of the fiber, which may be more important than solubility.
    What is Insoluble Fiber?:
    Insoluble fiber is what we usually think of when we think “fiber” or “roughage”. Wheat bran and most vegetables are examples of sources of insoluble fiber. It is tough, and doesn’t easily break down. Insoluble fiber tends to increase the “speed of transit” through our digestive systems, and increases regularity of bowel movements.
    What is Soluble Fiber?:
    A lot of soluble fiber is viscous, allowing it to absorb and retain water, forming a gel. This type of soluble fiber actually slows digestion down. Because of this, it has a tendency to stabilize blood glucose, and permit better absorption of nutrients. It tends to reduce blood cholesterol. It also increases satiety, so people aren’t inclined to eat as much. Sources of soluble fiber include flax, beans, peas, oatmeal, berries, apples, and some nuts and seeds.
    What is Fermentable Fiber?:
    Some fiber will ferment in the colon, producing compounds that help support colon health, and possibly have other benefits. There is some evidence that it is this type of fiber that may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Most soluble fiber is highly fermentable. Pectins (found in apples and berries) and the fiber in oats are examples of fiber with a large fermentable component. Inulin and oligofructose are also highly fermentable, as is resistant starch.
    Does Fiber “Count” as a Carbohydrate?:
    Although most fiber sources are carbohydrates, fiber doesn’t raise blood glucose, so low-carb diets don’t “count” fiber. (Fiber can provide calories, but not as glucose, but as products of fermentation in the colon.) In fact, fiber helps to moderate the effect of “usable carbs” on the bloodstream, so it furthers the goals of low-carb diets. To the extent that is creates satiety, it may also help prevent weight gain, and aid in weight loss.
    How Much Fiber Should a Person Eat?:
    Generally, recommendations for adults are between 25 and 40 grams per day, and that 20-30% of the total fiber intake be soluble fiber. Most people have a much lower fiber intake than is recommended. Researchers who study the diets of our prehistoric ancestors say that they ate upwards of 100 grams of fiber per day, so we probably can handle very high amounts of fiber without difficulty.
    Do I Have to Eat Fiber in Food? Can’t I Just Take Pills?:
    While fiber supplements can be helpful additions to a high-quality nutritious diet, they should never stand in for high-fiber foods, which are also rich in antioxidants and other nutrients essential to health. There is some evidence that simply taking pure fiber as a pill, or sprinkling high fiber additions over your food doesn’t carry all the same benefits as when it is in food. Also, some high-fiber additives such as wheat bran contain compounds (phytates) which block the absorption of some nutrients, so large amounts of this should be avoided.
    Guidelines for Consuming Fiber
    • If you are unused to eating a lot of fiber, increase amounts gradually to prevent intestinal distress.
    • Make sure you drink lots of water when taking fiber supplements or eating high-fiber foods, as all fiber absorbs at least some water. Fiber can, in rare cases, cause intestinal blockage if eaten with insufficient fluid.
    • Since large amounts of fiber can reduce absorption of some medications, it is best to take medication either an hour before or two hours after the fiber.
    • Chitin and chitosan come from the shells of crustaceans and should be avoided by people allergic to seafood.
    Which Low-Carb Foods are High in Fiber?
    As stated above, vegetables and fruits that are low in carbs tend to be also high in fiber. Flax is very high in fiber and very low in carbohydrate. Some bran cereals are good choices, such as All Bran. Possible supplements include those that are psyllium-based. Here is a list of High Fiber Low Carb Foods, and a sample menu.

    http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/p/fiberinfo.htm

    High-Fiber Low-Carb Food List

    Interestingly, almost all the non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the ones that are highest in both fiber and nutrients. So if you just want a list of high-fiber vegetables and fruit, you just have to look at the lists of those which are low in carbohydrates. If you are looking for numbers, one good guide for those limiting carbs is to look at the ratio of usable carb (or effective carb compared to fiber -- in other words, how much carbohydrate do I have to eat to get a gram of fiber? Here is a list, roughly in order on this carb/fiber scale. For foods not on this list, I recommend Nutritiondata.com. Note: I know there are discrepancies here. These are taken from Version 18 of the USDA Database. For an explanation of some of the incongruities, see Understanding Carb Counts and Why Carb Counts Vary. For more detailed carbohydrate information about fruits and vegetables, see my ever-expanding list of carbohydrate profiles, which includes carb and fiber counts, glycemic index and load, and other information.
    Almost All Fiber
    Flax!! There is almost no usable carbohydrate in flax seeds. It is very high in both soluble and insoluble fiber (about one third of the fiber is soluble), and has a pile of nutrients to boot. Flax is just could be the ultimate low-carb fiber source. 1 T ground flax has 2.0 grams of carbohydrate, 1.9 of which is fiber.

    Flax Information:

    Flax Seed Nutrition and Health Benefits
    Flax Selection, Storage, Tips, and Recipes
    Where to Get Flax Seeds and Grinders
    Chia Seeds have a fiber and carb profile similar to flax seeds. One member of our Low Carb Forum has recipes with chia seeds on her blog.
    Vegetables that are close to all fiber: Mustard Greens, Chicory, Endive
    More Fiber Than Usable Carbohydrate
    Wheat Bran
    • ½ cup raw, 3 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber
    Unsweetened Coconut and Coconut Flour
    • 1 ounce, 2 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber
    High Fiber Cereals
    • Check the labels carefully, but a few high fiber cereals are also low or fairly low in carbohydrate. Examples: All Bran with Extra Fiber; Fiber One
    Collard Greens
    • 1 cup chopped, cooked, 4 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber
    Avocado, Hass
    • 1 medium avocado, 3 grams usable carb, 12 grams fiber
    Spinach and Chard
    • 1 cup chopped, cooked � 3 g usable carb, 4 g fiber
    • Frozen 1 10 oz package � 3 g usable carb, 8 g fiber
    • 6 cups of raw spinach or chard=about 1 cup cooked
    Broccoli
    • 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, 1 gram usable carb, 3 grams fiber
    • 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber
    Cauliflower
    • 1/2 cup pieces, cooked,1 gram usable carb, 2 grams fiber
    • 1 cup raw, 2 grams usable carb, 2.5 grams fiber
    Blackberries
    • 1 cup, raw, 6 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber
    About as Much Usable Carb as Fiber
    Asparagus
    • 1/2 cup pieces, 2 grams usable carbs, 2 grams fiber
    Celery
    • 1 cup chopped, 1.5 grams usable carb, 1.5 grams fiber
    Eggplant
    • 1 cup raw, cubed, 2 grams usable fiber, 3 grams fiber
    • 1 cup cubed, cooked, 5 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber
    Lettuce, Romaine
    • 1 cup shredded, .5 gram usable carb, 1 g fiber
    Mushrooms
    • 1 cup, sliced, raw, 1 gram usable carb, 1 gram fiber
    Radishes
    • 1 cup raw, sliced, 2 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber
    Red Raspberries
    • 1 cup, raw, 7 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber
    High Fiber, but Not As Much Fiber as Usable Carb
    Rice Bran
    • 1/4 cup 8 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber
    Cabbage
    • 1 cup raw, chopped, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber
    • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped, 2 grams usable carb 1 gram fiber
    Bell Peppers
    • 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber
    Snow Peas (edible pod)
    • 1 cup whole, raw, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber
    Zucchini Squash
    • 1 cup cooked, sliced, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber
    Strawberries
    • 1/2 cup sliced, 5 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber
     
    Brandy and brooklyngirl like this.
  2.  
    southernlady

    southernlady Administrator Staff Member

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    I just take three fiber pills daily to help.
     
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    KathyF

    KathyF Well-Known Member

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    I put flax seed meal in my meatloaf, meatballs and hamburger patties.
     
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    newanatomy

    newanatomy Well-Known Member

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    That probably only gives you about 6 grams of a soluble fiber, not nearly enough. We need between 25-40 grams of fiber per day.
     
  5.  
    southernlady

    southernlady Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe so but any more and it gets my guts all out of sorts. Any less and they also get out of sorts. Three is my magic number.
     
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    Munchkin

    Munchkin Full of Fairy Dust

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    People take fiber and are concerned about it because it gets their guts moving, i.e. poop. We don't have to worry about this because we poop just fine. I believe all the concerns about fiber are for the normies. If we get the recommended amount of fiber we are pooping machines!
     
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    JackieOnLine

    JackieOnLine Moderator Staff Member

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    for non- DSers

    I know I was really constipated once while in the first six months and had to add fiber but now that I can have a salad and fruit and beans it isn't a problem.
     
  8.  
    newanatomy

    newanatomy Well-Known Member

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    I am a slightly a-typical DS'r, I am constipated. However, as you can see in this article, fiber is about much more than pooping.

    What is Fermentable Fiber?:
    Some fiber will ferment in the colon, producing compounds that help support colon health, and possibly have other benefits. There is some evidence that it is this type of fiber that may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Most soluble fiber is highly fermentable. Pectins (found in apples and berries) and the fiber in oats are examples of fiber with a large fermentable component. Inulin and oligofructose are also highly fermentable, as is resistant starch.

    I believe that some fibers are what are referred to as pre-biotics. They are what our good bacteria eat so, providing a steady supply keeps our bacteria happy.
     
  9.  
    hilary1617

    hilary1617 First time at the rodeo.

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    @newanatomy@newanatomy , thanks so much for sharing. I don't know much about fiber. This is very helpful.
     
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    JackieOnLine

    JackieOnLine Moderator Staff Member

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    yes, most excellent info - thanks for posting it
     
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    southernlady

    southernlady Administrator Staff Member

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    Most DS'er's get constipated IF they do not eat enough fat.
     
  12.  
    newanatomy

    newanatomy Well-Known Member

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    I average over 100 grams of fat per day. I never limit it on purpose. I have been constipated since shortly after surgery. Not everyone has loose stools.
     
    JackieOnLine likes this.
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    JackieOnLine

    JackieOnLine Moderator Staff Member

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    I am not honestly sure about fat's affect on my BMs although by now you'd think I'd know. :confused: it hadn't been much of a problem either way but I had a vague idea that fat = stopping me up. now I'm thinking, maybe that is just cheese (one of my favorite fats)

    because I got the opposite issue after last night's pizza, which was very DS friendly. :eek: it was tasty, but way more fat than I would usually eat.
     
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    southernlady

    southernlady Administrator Staff Member

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    It's possible you may need more fat.

    I don't limit on purpose but I have found once I added fat bombs or drank butter coffee, I was less constipated. Mine aren't loose but I also don't get constipated any longer.

    Okay, assume the study that DSers do not absorb 80% of the fat we eat is accurate. A normal human needs a minimum of 30 grams of fat per day for health, esp brain health.

    Your 100 grams ingested is only 20 grams absorbed. To get your 30 grams absorbed, you will need to ingest 150 grams.
     
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  15.  
    newanatomy

    newanatomy Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I will try to get a bit more:)
     

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