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." http://vitanetonline.com/library/Can-You-Get-Too-Much-Fiber?/
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 email@example.com. 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." http://vitanetonline.com/library/Can-You-Get-Too-Much-Fiber?/
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.