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Meet a carbohydrate you can trust

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Meet a carbohydrate you can trust

This is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into sugar by our digestive system.  Instead, it gets completely broken down or fermented (partially broken down) by bacteria in the large intestine before exiting the body… and in most cases, into a toilet.

1. It’s complex

This is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into sugar by our digestive system.  Instead, it gets completely broken down or fermented (partially broken down) by bacteria in the large intestine before exiting the body… and in most cases, into a toilet.

We are talking about the well-known indigestible part of plant-based foods: Dietary fibre.

2. More than a passer-by

Despite simply “passing through” our body, dietary fibre provides a host of health benefits that include:

  • Maintaining the health of small and large intestines. 
  • Lowering blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 
  • Optimising blood sugar levels. 
  • Achieving a healthier body weight.
  • Increasing good bacteria which supports immunity.

3. How are we doing?

The not-so-good news is that most of us are managing just 50% or less of the recommended 30g of dietary fibre per day (adults).

4. How practical are the recommendations?

As you can tell from the example below, wholegrains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and pulses are pretty much a slam dunk. Including these foods in our main meals are an easy way to achieve 30g of fibre per day.

MealFood itemsEstimated dietary fibre (grams)
Breakfast30 grams bran flakes or 1 cup cooked oatmeal5
 50g raspberries4
 1 boiled egg*0
   
Lunch¾  cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti4.5
 100g cooked salmon*0
 ½  small carrot0.7
 ½ cup cooked green peas3.5
 1 small apple3.6
   
Dinner150g boiled wholegrain rice2.7
 100g cooked chicken breast*0
 ½  cup boiled and chopped broccoli2.5
 ½  cup cooked brussels sprouts1.5
   
Snack15g unsalted almonds (approx. 10 almonds)2
   
  Total=30 grams

*Highlighted foods are low in fibre content but very important for the structure,  function and regulation of the human body.

5. For the food detectives

If we are into decoding food labels, foods containing:

  • 6 or more grams of fibre per 100g is considered “high in dietary fibre” 
  • 3 or more grams of fibre per 100g is considered “a source of dietary fibre”

6. Choosing wholesome

It is also best to get fibre from natural food sources rather than from fibre supplements as they may lack the variety of fibres that our body requires. Plus, natural foods have the added benefits of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

7. …slow is better!

It is best to increase fibre intake gradually to give your digestive system time to adapt and avoid unpleasant abdominal discomforts such as bloating and gas.

8. Move & hydrate

We strongly encourage being physically active and drinking at least 1.5-2 litres of fluids daily. This is for general wellbeing and to prevent constipation during the fibre introductory phase.

9. A check in is always helpful

If you have existing digestive issues – particularly irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, please do check in with your doctor or registered dietitian before dramatically increasing your fibre consumption!

10. And… that’s a wrap

We hope you have enjoyed meeting a carbohydrate you can count on. It is always refreshing to consider what we can include in our daily diets instead of focusing on what we should be avoiding


No content on this website should be used as a substitute for direct and individualised medical advice from a doctor or registered dietitian.

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