Wednesday, March 23, 2011

High Fiber Follow-Up

Great responses to my post the other day about eating enough fiber to keep you healthy. I thought I might respond to some of the questions in this follow-up posting and also ask for a few of the commenters to get more engaged over here at HGK.

Can You Go Fiber Overboard?

A few people were wondering if there was such a thing as eating too much fiber (over 50 grams of fiber a day). Hmmmm . . . that's a lot of fiber. I don't think if I stuffed myself silly I could ingest that much fiber. I hope that your high fiber intake is not from Fiber One bars or cereal, high fiber tortillas, fiber pills or powders or really anything that is a PROCESSED, high fiber food. Although I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, the fibers in those food are just more fake crap and they don't count. The fiber that comes from real food is what I'm talkin' about. Read about my experiences with isolated fiber in a blog post I did in December.

Are you experiencing any negative side effects of the high fiber intake? Bloating, overly large stools, abdominal pain, gassiness? If not, why are you concerned?

Here's what I found out about potential adverse side affects of a very high fiber diet: there's just not that much scientific info about it. Someone on the Internet even commented "I went through all of webmd's articles on fiber and could find nothing about too much [fiber in the diet]."

"Some health care experts believe that eating more than 35 grams of fiber per day may adversely affect vitamin and mineral absorption. While this is technically true, rarely does anyone eat near that amount of fiber. Most of us don't eat even the small amount we need. While it is true that some fibers may absorb calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium, and while the presence of fiber in the intestines may inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients, these effects are present only under extreme conditions. In other words, don't let the fear of becoming nutrient deficient stop you from boosting you fiber intake. This particular phenomenon does not pose a significant threat. The marvelous benefits of fiber far outweigh the remote possibility that you will eat quantities large enough to pose any problem."

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it if those of you who commented that you are eating 50+ grams of fiber every day let all of us know JUST HOW ARE YOU GETTING THIS MUCH FIBER INTO YOUR DAY? Please log or attempt to type out your food on typical day and e-mail it to me at I would love to give HGK readers real life ideas about how to increase their daily fiber intake.

Go Slowly and add Water, Water and more Water

Lori asked for a good simple solution to eat enough fiber without getting tummy aches? An anonymous commenter suggested (thank you!) the following: "what about taking a complete digestive enzyme supplement also containing cellulase."

"Remember to add fiber gradually, drink plenty of water and chew your food thoroughly so that the necessary digestive enzymes will be activated in the saliva. Some people believe that taking supplemental digestive enzymes right before eating fiber can cut down on the formation of gas."

Personally, I 'm Really Curious About How Much Fiber I am Actually Ingesting Daily

I finally broke down and got myself a smart phone. I actually having a lot of fun with it. And now I have a cool app called MyFitnessPal that allows me to track and accumulate the nutritional information of all of the food that I'm eating. I figure that I am going to learn a heck of a lot in the process, and if I can lose 10 pounds, all the better! I am going to attempt to track my food to see how much fiber I am eating, on average, every day and see if I can get my fiber up. I figure if I focus on fiber, there's way less room in my tummy for sugar and all of the other nonsense that gets in my muzzle on an average day!

P.S. I just got the results of my first day using my fitness pal. I'm pretty happy because I have learned a few things:

I consumed approximately 1332 calories (the program recommended a net caloric intake of 1260/day in order for me to lose a pound a week for 10 weeks). I ate one very green smoothie with apple and grapes, two bowls of bean and vegetable soup, one salad with tempeh (whew-that really packs in the calories), and one banana/cherry/date/cocoa soft serve with Uncle Sam cereal sprinkled on top. I had a VERY full feeling in my stomach for most of the day. The numbers are approximate because I had lunch in a restaurant and did my best to recreate what I ate with the program, but it's not that perfect. All daily recommended numbers are in parenthesis.

25 grams of fat (42)
0 cholesterol (300)
2028 sodium (2500)
240 total carbs (173)
53 dietary fiber (15)
sugars 91 (25)
protein 61 (47)
iron 199% of rda

I'm stoked about the fiber and the protein, but wondering what to do about the sugar being so high. The only sugar I ate came from fruit. Less fruit I guess!

This program made it so blatantly obvious when I needed to stop eating for the night!!!! Eating after dinner is probably the single reason that I am carrying around these 10 extra pounds. And I might just be able to lose them with the help of this type of tracking (it's just basic calorie counting, duh!) because it's so clear that if I eat more I can't lose. Not rocket science.


Anonymous said...

I eat upwards of 85g of fiber per day from whole foods. On a typical day i eat:

3 bananas
2 cups berries
2 heads of romaine lettuce
1lb carrots
5-6 stalks celery
10oz steamed brussel sprouts
1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
sometimes about 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Due to digestive issues and food intolerances, as well as a basic desire to eat a low fat, whole foods, vegan diet, I eat only the above foods, or some variation thereof (ie. very heavy on the fruits and veggies). On 'hungry days', I might have one more serving of grain or potatoes, or some apples or other fruit.

I would describe my diet as a cross between McDougall and a raw, low fat vegan diet because I get a lot of my calories from fruit (usually in the form of banana soft serve).

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

I have gotten more than 50 grams of fiber in a day, but not often. Usually it's a little less than that (when I keep track). It's so easy to get enough fiber by eating a whole foods, plant-based diet when pretty much everything I eat contains fiber. :) I can tell when I've had too much fiber (and/or not enough water) because it has the, erm, opposite effect that fiber is supposed to have. :) I just listen to my body & eat accordingly!

katshealthcorner said...

Most of what I eat has fiber. I eat so much of it!!!!

Some of my favorite fiber soures are beans, whole grains, fruit, veggies, etc! Plant foods = Fiber. :)

I love this! :D

katshealthcorner said...

Just added you to my blog roll! :D


Tess said...

Okay, I'll get to the fiber-ness, but here's a little background on my diet. I was vegetarian for years, but made the healthy, plant-based vegan lifestyle change a little over a year ago. I've got awesome skin now, I feel amazing and poop like a champ (too much?), and I've lost 80 pounds. I still have another 15 that I would like to lose, so I visited a veg-friendly dietician who told me to start counting calories, so I set up an account at Livestrong. (PS--If anyone has any other rec's for other calorie-counters, I'm totally open to change!)

Here's a typical 50ish gram of fiber day:

Breakfast--3/4 cup of Engine 2 Rip's Big Bowl with 1/2 banana, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes (Don't knock the grapes-on-cereal till you try it!) with 1/2 cup Almond Milk.

Morning Snack--Green Smoothie with variety of greens, 1/2 banana, berries or mango.

Lunch--Salad or wrap on Ezekiel tortilla with some sort of grain-and-bean-and-greens leftovers. If I have a salad, I usually take a Dr. Kracker with hummus as well. I'll have a couple clementines for "dessert".

Afternoon snack--Hummus and carrots/celery or Snickerdoodle Hummus and apples. I'll have a few Brazil nuts here and there, too.

Dinner--Something with beans, greens, and grains. We had Tostadas with Tofu Cream, veggies and black beans from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet last night. (SO DELICIOUS!)

Bada Bing, Bada Boom, 50 grams of fiber. =)

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...


After using MyFitnessPal for 2 days, I can ALMOST recommend it. It's not perfect. It won't let me accurately account for my exercise calories burned because it has neither Power Vinyasa Yoga or Reformer Pilates in its database and it won't let me add them. But, as a calorie/nutrition counter for food, I find it to be very cool to use!!! I can see now how I will be able to lose these "stubborn" last 10-ish pounds if I am diligent about tracking my food this way. I think your dietician was right.

P.S. Yesterday I consumed 68 grams of fiber. I had no idea until I started using MyFitnessPal. Now I kind of think everyone should at least do this for a week to see how their diet stacks up.

Lillian said...

I have been using the Lose It app for tracking calories in/exercise for the last ten weeks! I average about 50-75 grams of fiber! Nice thing is you can add any exercise as long as you have a count of calories burned (I run/walk everyday and have a heart rate monitor to track calories, etc). I definitely think it helps me to keep a better handle on what I put in my mouth! I've lost 40 pounds since May 2010. 15 since January when I started a Wellness challenge and adapted a plant strong life style. I too am looking to shed those last ten pounds and I think the combo of low fat high fiber plant strong is a winner for me. I am only hungry when I am supposed to be which is such a new concept and I eat a ton of food especially on those days that I go really heavy on the veggies!

liz said...


Unfortunately most exercise calorie counters out there just aren't accurate. The only way to truly know how many calories you are burning during exercise is to wear a heartrate monitor. If I had to roughly estimate how many calories you are burning during a one hour power vinyasa class I would say between 200 and 300. And for an hour of pilates, less than that. But I highly recommend getting a monitor - they make exercise a lot more fun!!

Anonymous said...

I have used It does have Vinyasa yoga in the database, but also allows you to maually enter calories burned for activities (e.g. from a heart rate monitor). In addition to the site's data base, you can search food entered by other members. You can use it on a BlackBerry or other smart phone as well as computer. Just looked through several weeks of entries--my fiber is usually between 40-50.

Aurélia said...

Hi! I know this it's is kind of old, but I just stumbled upon it. I'm one of those high fibre people. I average between 45-75 grams of fibre a day, on a diet between 1300-2000 calories, depending on my activity level. I'm a healthy weight (122 lbs) for my height (5'6") so I always assume that everything is a okay. I eat LOTS of vegetables and I believe that is where most of it comes from.

On a lower calories day, my diet looks like this:

Silver Hills Steady Eddie Sprouted Grain Bread, 2 slices
All Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp
Honey, 2 tsp
Plain Green Tea, Several Cups

Apple, 1 medium
Silk unsweetened soy milk, 1/2 cup

A huge salad! Consisted of:
Romaine Lettuce, 1 cup
Baby Spinach, 1 cup
Kale, 1/2 cup
Swiss Chard, 1/2 cup
Carrots, 1 medium
Snow Peas, about 1/2 cup
Strawberries, 6 whole
Chickpeas (canned, so salt added), 1/2 cup
1 tbsp Nutriotional Yeast
Black pepper, to taste

Homemade Bran Muffin (I use any muffin recipe that sounds good, replace the butter or oil with unsweetened apple sauce, replace the sugar with Krisda baking stevia, replace eggs with flax eggs, milks with soy or almond, and replace the flour with 1/2 whole wheat, and 2/3 bran) This particular batch was blueberry and had 130 calories, and 6 grams of fibre

This one is a super easy favourite. I fry (in water) 1 small eggplant, 1 medium zucchini, 1 yellow pepper, several mushrooms, a carrot, and about 1 cup of broccoli. Once the veggies are cooked I put in about 1 cup of my favourite prepared pasta sauce and crumple in about 1/2 package of firm tofu and let that stew for a minutes. I split it in half (for my hubby and I) and serve each half over a half a spaghetti squash.

The entire day yields
1335 calories
37 grams of fat
71 grams of protein
203 grams of carbohydrate
55 grams of fibre
1600 mg of sodium
825% of the daily recommended vitamin A
367% of the vitamin C
100% of the iron
152% of the vitamin B6
100% of the B12
98% of the calcium

I might have stir fry served over quinoa for super instead, falafels, vegan white bean stew, Black Bean Creole, stewed lemtils, vegetable curries, a homemade bean burger on whole wheat bun with salad, etc though I almost always eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch.

On days where I am very active, I usually make myself a smoothie that consists of
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 medium pre frozen banana
1 tbsp natural almond butter
1.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup of hemp protein powder (I use hemp pro 50 because it contains only hemp seeds)

This adds 430 calories to my diet, and
18 grams of fat
27 grams of protein
42 grams of carbohydrate
and another 15 grams of fibre

I don't eat this way to loose weight, because of I've never needed too, but when my husband first moved in with me all those years ago, he lost about 25 lbs. I just really like eating lots of food, and the only way I can eat huge volumes of food without having to worry that I'll end up the size of a house is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. And I like them. I always wonder how people don't manage to feel full without eating too much food. There is just something so very satisfying about sitting down with a giant plate off food and eating it all.

And it's not like I'm deprived. I'd never turn down a soy cappuccino from starbucks, or a scoop of coconut milk ice cream. Those things are just expensive, so I don't get them often.

Good luck in your fibre eating adventures, and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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