Adding Fiber To Your Gluten-Free Diet

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Fiber is an important part of a healthful diet. Consumption of enough fiber can aid in lowering cholesterol and reducing risk of heart disease, and is important for maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system. High fiber diets have also been linked to lower body weights, since bulkier high fiber foods tend to make us feel full longer, and are also often lower in calories. Estimates indicate that average fiber intake among Americans is only about half the recommended level. Fiber intake among individuals on a gluten-free diet may be even lower, since many gluten-free foods are lower in fiber than their gluten-containing counterparts.

Fiber is found only in plant-based foods. Fiber refers to the part of plant-based foods that cannot be digested by the body.There are two categories of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Although different foods contain primarily one type of fiber or the other, most plant-based foods contain a mixture of both.It is important to include a variety of fiber sources in the diet.

 

TIPS FOR ADDING FIBER

 

How much fiber is needed and where to find it
The “Daily Value” (DV) for fiber is 28 grams per day. This is the amount the average consumer over age 4 should aim for, and is the value used as the standard on Nutrition Facts labels on food packages.

All plant based foods provide some fiber, but some foods are better sources than others.

Legumes This category may be the best place to focus for highest fiber food sources. Legumes include beans (such as pinto, garbanzo and black beans, to name just a few), peas, and lentils. \

 

Fruits & Vegetables   Include plenty of vegetables and fruits in your diet, to not only add fiber, but increase overall healthfulness.

 

Gluten-Free Whole Grains and Flours  Whole grains provide more fiber than refined versions. Use gluten-free whole grains as side dishes with meals, and try using whole grain gluten-free flours in baking. (Find tips for cooking gluten-free whole grains here https://gluten.org/2019/10/17/whole-grains/)

 

Seeds and Nuts Incorporating nuts and seeds into the diet is an easy way to increase fiber. Add pumpkin or sunflower seeds to salads, and have a small handful of nuts with a piece of fruit for a snack.

 

Ideas for adding fiber throughout the day.  (Amounts of fiber provided are in parentheses after each item.)

 

* The symbol “~” means “approximately.”

 

 

This article has been assessed and approved by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.