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by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Fiber, fiber, fiber…

I hear it all the time. If you have a digestive issue, you need to eat more fiber.

What, you can’t eat enough to reach the recommended daily goal?

Well, then take a fiber supplement. Right?

Heck, even the prestigious Journal of Nutrition said this about 5 years ago.

“It is recognized that the development of many risk factors associated with highly prevalent chronic diseases could be reduced by increasing consumption of fiber. Evidence suggests that fiber plays a critical role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes and is essential for optimal digestive health.
Fiber was identified as an “under-consumed nutrient of public health concern” by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This statement was based on mean intakes well below Adequate Intake (AI) levels, coupled with fiber’s established role in risk reduction of coronary heart disease and its emerging role in contributing to satiety and weight control.”
~ The Journal of Nutrition, May 2012

General Recommendation for Fiber

The general recommendation for fiber is 25 – 30 grams daily and it is suggested that the typical American consumes about 15 grams daily. I have heard some “experts” share that you should consume 40 or more grams daily.

Do you know what that looks like thought?

Here’s sample of what you’d have to eat just to reach 30 grams.

*To be clear, I am not recommending eating this way, more on this later.


  • Cup of oatmeal, with 4 grams of fiber, topped with a cup of raspberries, which add another 8 grams of fiber, for a breakfast with 12 total grams of fiber
  • If you do not like oatmeal, many ready-to-eat breakfast cereals made with whole grains are also high in fiber if you don’t like oatmeal. Two biscuits of shredded wheat provide about 5.5 grams, and 1/2 cup of bran cereal has about 8.8 grams. Trade the raspberries for an orange or a cup of strawberries, and you’ll still get 3 grams of fiber


  • Have a salad and a sandwich for a high-fiber lunch. Two slices of whole-grain bread will provide about 3.4 grams of fiber. A 2-cup serving of romaine lettuce adds 2.4 grams. Top your lettuce with a tomato for another 1.5 grams and 1/2 cup of carrots for an additional 1.6 grams of fiber. This lunch has a total of 8.9 grams of fiber. The meat and cheese in your sandwich won’t add fiber, but any vegetables you include will increase the fiber somewhat.


  • A cup of brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber. Top it with 1/2 cup of kidney beans for another 5.5 grams of fiber. Serve your rice and beans with a cup of cooked broccoli to increase the fiber of your dinner by 3 grams, for a total of 12 grams. If you swap the rice and beans for skinless chicken breast and a medium baked potato, you’ll get 4 grams of fiber, for a total of 7 grams if you still eat the broccoli.


  • A smoothie made with milk, a banana and a cup of strawberries will have 6.4 grams of fiber. Or snack on an ounce of almonds, for 3.3 grams of fiber. Pair your nuts with a pear for an additional 5.1 grams of fiber or an apple for 3.3 grams of fiber. A 3-cup serving of popcorn has 3 grams of fiber, an ounce of peanuts has 2.3 grams, and peaches, nectarines and kiwi fruits all have at least 2 grams of fiber per ounce.

So this is what you’d have to do daily to reach your 30 gram goal.

That’s a lot of food!

And do you know what too much food creates in your colon?

Constipation, which is the very reason so many people are eating more fiber.

Yes, an over-consumption of food and fiber can leave you constipated. This is what “they” don’t tell you.

You may notice that I color coded some of these foods in red or blue. The red color coded foods are foods that have a moderate to high likelihood to create inflammation in your gut and your body, thus creating issues with your digestion, brain function, hormones and immune function. Also all the fruit that I color coded in blue adds more and more sugar into your diet.

Yes, I “get” that it is natural sugar, BUT IT’S STILL SUGAR.

For most of us, are body’s are not designed to handle this much sugar and heck, this does not count other sugar or processed foods that you may ingest during your day.

Now what about the so called “experts” that are claiming you need 40 grams, or more?

If you were going to take this on, you would notice that it is next to impossible to get that much fiber in without a supplement. But don’t worry, they will also have a fiber supplement to recommend for you.

How convenient…

My Thoughts on Fiber

Let me be clear, I am not against fiber, I simply have not found that this high of amounts are needed. I have assisted thousands of clients through the years and find that nobody truly needs that much fiber.

If you have some vegetables with each meal and occasional fruit, I have found that this will satisfy your needs.

Here is an example of what this looks like.


  • Two eggs sunny side up with some pan steam kale and half an avocado
    • Approximately 9.3 grams of fiber


  • Burger protein style (wrapped in lettuce) with tomato and onion and a small side salad
    • Approximately 3 grams of fiber


  • Salmon filet, 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli and a half sweet potato with butter
    • Approximately 4.6 grams of fiber


  • Celery stick with organic nut butter
    • Approximately 2.5 grams of fiber

This would provide you about 19.4 grams of fiber and more importantly, much less food and sugar as well.

After all, one of the primary reasons we are a constipated culture is that we simply eat too darned much food!

This will help…

Let me also note that outside of the over-consumption of food causing constipation, the other, and often primary reason for this is tied into your brain function. I will provide you overall tips to assist in overcoming constipation that do not include increasing fiber.

You can learn more about this by reading this article here.

Enjoy your moderate to low fiber diet, that is also low in sugar and low in gorging as well.


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