Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that goes completely through our digestive system without being broken down and absorbed into our bodies. Fiber absorbs water and helps make bowel movements easy.
Most Americans consume about half the fiber they should. The guidelines indicate we should consume about 14 grams of fiber for ever 1000 Calories we consume. Most people who consume about 2000 Calories a day get only about 15 grams of fiber.
Getting enough fiber means chewing raw vegetables and fruits, plant food. Consuming enough fiber is rare, especially when you consume fruit juices and fast foods.
What About Fruit and Vegetable Juices?
We all want vitamins and minerals in our diets. One way we think is helpful is by getting them from fruits and vegetables. So, many people drink fruit and vegetable juices. You might think that this is an easy way to get our recommended 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables.
But, real juices (not sugary fruit “drinks”) consist mostly of the fluid contained in the fruit or vegetables. Most of the the pulp or fiber does not make it to the juice. Most people who buy juices or practice juicing at home to get the nutrients in fruits or vegetables but not the benefits of the fiber.
For example, it takes about 4 large carrots to make one cup of carrot juice. The four large carrots contain 8 grams of fiber. But only two grams of fiber makes it to the carrot juice. You lose 75% of the fiber when juicing carrots or buying carrot juice.
If you want and need more fiber, you should consider blending smoothies instead of consuming juices. Smoothies have the nutrients of fruits and vegetables plus all the fiber.
What About Fast Foods?
Most fast foods contain very little fiber. This helps you consume them faster without a lot of chewing on the bulky fiber. It gets you out of the restaurant quick and on your way!
Here are some examples
McDonald’s feeds more than 62 million people per day. About 62,500 Big Macs are sold every hour in the United States. So, do you get good fiber with a Big Mac meal?
Big Mac: 530 Calories and 3 grams of fiber
Medium French Fries: 340 Calories and 4 grams of fiber
Coca-Cola Classic (Medium): 200 Calories and 0 grams of fiber
Total for meal: 1070 Calories and 7 grams of fiber. You should have gotten more than 14 grams of fiber for this many Calories.
About half the US population eats at Taco Bell every month.
Quesarito-Checken: 640 Calories with 4 grams of fiber
Pepsi (16 ounce): 200 Calories and 0 grams of fiber
Total for meal: 840 Calories and 4 grams of fiber. You should have gotten about 12 grams of fiber for 840 Calories. of food.
This way of eating quickly with less chewing, avoiding fiber, to get on with more important things in life is leading to many medical conditions.
4 Ways to Increase Fiber-Rich Foods in Your Diet
Have Any of These Low Fiber Diet Medical Conditions?
Here are the results of a low fiber diet. If you have these conditions, you may be in need of more fiber in your diet.
- Constipation: Hard, dry stools with sometimes less than three bowel movements a week.
- Weight gain: Fiber helps you feel full and help keeps your blood sugar levels from being too elevated and then crashing, causing hunger and overeating.
- Blood sugar fluctuations: Fiber slows down digestion helping to control blood sugar levels.
- High cholesterol: Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol helping to keep it from going into your system to give you elevated cholesterol levels.
- Cardiovascular disease: Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of arterial and heart disease.
- Cancer: Some cancers of the colon and rectum are associated with a low fiber diet.
- Hemorrhoids: Veins near the anus are irritated and swell when pushing or straining to have a bowel movement.
The “modern” way of eating faster and chewing less is not healthy. It leads you to support the medical industry when you find yourself suffering from one of the low-fiber medical conditions.
Do You Need a Fiber Supplement?
If you are going to continue eating this low-fiber way, you need to take some fiber supplements to avoid these low-fiber medical conditions.
I, personally, use Jarrow Formulas Gentle Fibers. I mix with with almond milk or soy milk and have it in the morning and evening. I recommend it.
Stay healthy, get enough fiber.