1.      Action of Fiber


A.      Water soluble fiber:

i.         Delays intestinal transit.

ii.        Delays gastric emptying and glucose absorption.

iii.      Decreases serum cholesterol concentration.

B.      Water insoluble fibers:

i.         Accelerates intestinal transit and fecal weight.

ii.        Slows starch hydrolysis.

iii.      Delays glucose absorption.


2.      Value of Fiber


A.      25-30 grams daily may reduce risk of certain diseases.

B.      Gums and pectins (oats, fruits, beans) may reduce total serum cholesterol.

C.      Helps control blood glucose levels.

D.      Aids in weight reduction because of high satiety value.

E.      Aids elimination by softening the stool (fiber must be avoided in diverticulosis).


3.      Sources of Fiber


A.      Cellulose:

i.         Vegetables.

ii.        Whole-grain products.

B.      Hemicellulose:

i.         Bran cereal.

ii.        Whole-grain products.

C.      Gums (decrease cholesterol and blood sugar):

i.         Legumes (dried peas and beans).

ii.        Oat bran.

D.      Pectin:

i.         Apples.

ii.        Citrus.


4.      Tips on Increasing Fiber in Diet


A.      Increase fiber slowly to give the digestive tract time to adjust and avoid flatulence and cramping.

B.      Increase fluids along with fiber to prevent constipation.

C.      Obtain fiber from a variety of sources.

D.      Eat whole-grain food because processing tends to decrease fiber content.

E.      Choose fruits and vegetables with edible skins and seeds.

F.       Eat whole grains such as barley, bran, brown rice, buckwheat groats, cornmeal, popcorn, whole wheat, and wheat germ.

G.      Store whole grain carefully; it is more perishable than refined grain.

H.      Consult your physician regarding the amount of fiber needed in your daily diet.

I.         Avoid medication after bran cereal because bran can block medication absorption.

J.       Do not take fiber supplements unless prescribed by a physician.


5.      Fiber Content Per Ounce of Food


A.      Fruit: 2 grams.

B.      Vegetable: 2 grams.

C.      Starchy vegetable: 3 grams.

D.      Legumes: 8 grams.

E.      Whole-grain products: 2 grams.

F.       Cereal: 3 grams.

G.      Bran cereal: 8 grams.

H.      Nuts and seeds: 3 grams.