For a comprehensive food database containing information on the fibre content of foods along with additional nutritional facts see the USDA website
Dietary Fibre and Weight Loss
Dietary Fibre comes in a variety of forms. Fibre is classified as being either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and is commonly found in fruits, vegetable, oats and legumes. Insoluble fibre otherwise called roughage, does not dissolve in water, these fibres are found mainly in wholegrain based foods, fruit skins or the protective layers of vegetables.
Health Benefits of Fibre
Dietary Fibre helps control and lower blood cholesterol levels. Some types of fibre may also have the effect of controlling blood glucose through slowing the breakdown and release of glucose from carbohydrates. This is beneficial in the management of Type 2 Diabetes and can also lower the risk of developing Heart Disease.
Fibre intake and Weight loss
Fibre intake both soluble and insoluble is thought to have a positive effect on weight loss. Epidemiology studies looking at fibre intakes and obesity or subsequent weight gain have found fibre intake helps protect against weight gain (1,2,3). Fibre intake from cereal based foods (insoluble fibre) can decrease fat absorption resulting in a decreased daily energy intake. Also fibre intake helps to increases satiety levels. People partaking in a higher fibre diet tend to feel less hungry when consuming higher fibre foods. This can result in an overall decreased energy intake. In a study of 17 obese women it was found taking 40 grams of soluble fibre supplement a day, reduce daily energy intake by 1200kj’s. In the same study 14 women were assigned to a low energy diet. These women were divided into a fibre supplement and a non-fibre supplement. The high fibre group reported less hunger throughout the study (1).
This increased satiety with dietary fibre controls appetite and leads to lower food daily food consumption. Overtime this lowered food consumption will help prevent weight gain through modifying energy intake.
Weight loss control trials tend to find improved weight loss with fibre supplements (4). When fibre intake is added to an already limited energy (kilojoule) intake quite often improved weight loss is not found. This suggests fibre intake has its benefits through lowering food consumption and energy intake rather than having a metabolic effect.
Recommended Daily Fibre Intakes
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 14 grams of fibre be consumed per 1000 KCals of food intake. This translates to 21-30 grams of fibre per day for the average woman and 25-40 grams of fibre per day for the average man.
Aiming to consume 5-8 grams of fibre with each meal will ensure you reach the recommended daily fibre intake
Food Sources of Fibre
Increasing your daily fibre intake can be achieved through choosing the correct cereals and breads and eating adequate fruit and vegetables. Below are some simple changes that can increase your fibre consumption.
- Increase Fruit and Vegetable consumption
- When choosing fruits leave the skin on where applicable
- Eat snacks such as beans, nuts and wholegrain crackers rather then refined biscuits, cakes and chocolates
- Choose wholemeal, wholegrain or rye breads
- Include vegetables in meat dishes, add a side of salads or vegetables to a meal
- Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal
- Consume less sugary drinks, juices and lollies
- Pasman, W. J., et al. "Effect of one week of fibre supplementation on hunger and satiety ratings and energy intake." Appetite 29.1 (1997): 77-87.
- Koh-Banerjee, Pauline, et al. "Changes in whole-grain, bran, and cereal fiber consumption in relation to 8-y weight gain among men." The American journal of clinical nutrition 80.5 (2004): 1237-1245.
- Liu, Simin, et al. "Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women." The American journal of clinical nutrition 78.5 (2003): 920-927.
- Solum, T. T., et al. "The influence of a high-fibre diet on body weight, serum lipids and blood pressure in slightly overweight persons. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation with diet and fibre tablets (DumoVital)." International journal of obesity 11 (1987): 67