What's the Deal with Fiber?

Fiber Facts: The Center For Science in The Public Interest www.cspinet.org/ has petitioned the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to stop manufacturers from mislabeling foods as “Whole Grain” when they’re really not.

For example, EGGO Nutrigrain Whole Wheat Waffles contain more refined white flour than whole wheat. Often companies add caramel coloring to give their products that more beige, whole grain look. If a package boasts “Whole Grain” on the front, look at the list of ingredients on the back to make sure the first ingredient really is Whole, not just wheat or enriched.

Sometimes just as confusing is the labeling of Fiber on food labels. Natural fiber is derived only from fruits and vegetables along with the whole intact of grains, which includes the outside bran, the inside endosperm and germ. Fiber is then classified as Soluble or Insoluble which merely refers to its ability to dissolve in water.

Soluble Fiber, such as the kind found mainly in Oats, Apples, Nuts/Seeds, Legumes, Berries,  and more, helps to lower blood cholesterol. Insoluble Fiber helps move wastes through the digestive tract to maintain regularity, and reduce potential toxins from hanging around and being absorbed. Sources of Insoluble Fiber include Whole Wheat Bread, Barley, Carrots, Tomatoes and more.

But don’t get hung up so much on whether you’re eating Soluble or Insoluble Fiber as most plant foods contain a mixture. The key rather, is to enjoy a diet rich in whole fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts,  and whole vegetables.

The goal is to get about 20 grams of total fiber daily. (The average American only consumes about 10.) For example, a whole apple contains about 4 grams, a 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, about 3, and a 1/2 cup cooked legumes contains about 7 grams.

What’s on your plate today?