Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fiber - friend or foe?

We all know that fiber is good for us, right?

But can too much fiber be too much of a good thing?

Sure it can! Anything can be bad for you if you have too much of it. But most people today have the opposite problem, not enough fiber.

So how much fiber should you have?

My research tells me that 40grams a day is about right. Errr, good? What's that equal in terms of, you know, food?

Here's some examples

Whole-wheat bread 1 slice 1.6 grams

Rye bread
1 slice 1.0 grams

White bread
1 slice 0.6 grams

Brown rice (cooked)
½ cup 2.4 grams

White rice (cooked)
½ cup 0.1 grams

Spaghetti (cooked)
½ cup 0.8 grams

Kidney beans (cooked)
½ cup 5.8 grams

Lima beans (cooked)
½ cup 4.9 grams

Potato (baked)
Medium 3.8 grams

½ cup 3.9 grams

½ cup 2.0 grams

½ cup 0.3 grams

¾ cup 2.0 grams

Medium 2.0 grams

Apple (with skin)
Medium 2.6 grams

Small 1.2 grams

(from http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Erg-Foo/Fiber.html)

So what happens if you eat too much fiber?

Your body might start missing out on nutrition. Fiber speeds up food through the digestive tract. Too fast and you don't have time to absorb important things like iron and calcium.

How will you know? Well, not to put too fine a point on it - excess gas and bloating. The painful kind.

You might also end up constipated if your diet is too full of fiber and you don't drink enough water.

But I'll talk about water another day.

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