Move over sugar, there is a new nutrient in the headlines at the moment. Fibre and we are all not getting enough of it in our diet.
Last week fibre made the headlines – we should be eating 25g a day as a minimum but guidelines as pushing this more to 30g. Most people in the world are eating less than 20g a day.
The evidence has come from a large study published in the Lancet which reviewed many pieces of work. Bottom line is for every 8g more dietary fibre eaten per day, total deaths and incidences of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by 5-27%. Protection against stroke and breast cancer also increased.
What is Fibre?
Fibre is a nutrient that to be honest isn’t always talked about a lot, unless you are having some bowel issues! Well we talk about it in my house a lot! Dietitian chat!
Fibre comes from plant-based carbohydrates and it is not digested in the small intestine. Your fibre rich foods are:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
- Peas, beans and pulses
- Nuts and seeds
- Potatoes with skin
It is important for bowel health and helps with regular bowel movements.
Now this news may not be suitable for all. If you have been told any different by your doctor or dietitian, if you have any gastro problems for example, give these guidelines a wide birth until you have had a chat with them. It may not be nice to start feasting on the All Bran when you have IBS that flares with too much fibre!
Are We Having Enough Fibre?
This news made my husband go a bit mental! He started scrutinising everything we were eating, wondering how much fibre we were eating each day. He was fascinated with all the labels and I’m definitely letting him get on with it, as he has a bit of a sweet tooth, so any healthy changes are a positive.
This made me think about my own fibre intake and perhaps I would tot mine up for a day. I am writing this post after a typical Saturday and thought would see how much I have. This is an estimate though, as I didn’t weigh anything.
– Boiled Egg with two slices of Hovis Seed Sensations Bread – 4.6g fibre
– Almonds and raisins – 2.5g fibre
Snacks (I’d been to the gym!!)
– 1 Granny Smith Apple – 2.4g fibre
– 1 Orange – 3.1g fibre
– Almonds and Raisins – 2.5g fibre
– Teeny taste of malt loaf so minimal fibre
– Cheese Omelette with onion, pepper, tomatoes with some lettuce – 1g fibre (serious estimate)
– Greek yoghurt and some frozen strawberries but Piglet stole so basically naff all!!! 0.5g fibre
– Nature Valley Protein Bar – 5.1g
– Slice of melon 0.5g fibre
– 3 rice cakes with Philadelphia Light – 0.6g fibre
– Lasagne (with chopped tomatoes, onion and pepper) with broccoli – 6g fibre
– Greek Yoghurt with Raspberries – 1.5g fibre
– Chocolate Buttons
My Total Fibre for the day = 30.3g
I was actually quite surprised at the amount I was eating. I know for a fact I’m a a grazer and I do tend to snack on fruit and nuts a lot. I was also quite surprised at my cereal bar having a good amount of fibre in, as we usually advise keeping an eye on these due to the sugar content.
Have you ever totted up the amount of fibre you are having? It may be worth it and from me doing this, it has helped me devise some top tips to increase the fibre in your diet.
Tips to Increase the Fibre in Your Diet
– Start the day with a fibre fix. This may be having a wholegrain cereal like Weetabix or Shredded Wheat or choosing an old oaty favourite: porridge. You can boost the fibre content with extra fruit, nuts or dried fruit.
– If like me, you don’t like cereal (it actually upsets my tummy!) for breakfast, go for something like seedy toast with a topping like peanut butter.
– Fruit and yoghurt is also another good start or if you have zero time, have a look at the cereal/breakfast bars as I was surprised at the fibre content of some. It’s just being mindful of the sugar.
– Try to always eat the whole fruit over a fruit juice. This gives you the fibre and less sugar combined.
– Snack on fruit, nuts, seeds and small amounts of dried fruit.
– Pick wholegrain versions of bread, rice and pasta. There is more fibre in these versions.
– Eat the skin if you can on your potatoes
– Try to include more beans, lentils and pulses in your cooking. I’ll admit we struggle with this and the girls but adding beans to chilli or having lentil bolognaise are options. Even beans on toast is a fabulous fibre boost. Keep it simple.
– Try and have vegetables with everything – side salads, on the side of bolognaise, chilli and hide as much as you can in casseroles, stir fries and curries. It will really add up.
I’m pleased on the day I totted up my fibre intake I was having a good day but I’m not sure I would hit this everyday, as would not always have a cereal bar and my fruit intake varies, depending on whether or not I’m at work or home.
I hope I get the 25g to start but would like to hit the 30g if I can. It’s worth it, as the foods containing fibre are healthy; fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, beans and wholegrains. Make these swaps and you will be improving your diet and bowel health overall!
Has this post helped you and your diet?
Let me know in the comments.