Getting Enough Fiber On The Hauser Diet

FIBER, FIBER, AND MORE FIBER

Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps to maintain bowel regularity by adding bulk to stools and drawing water into the digestive tract. Fiber has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, most Americans get less than half of the fiber they need. The general recommended daily allowance is 20-25 grams per day.

HOW MUCH FIBER DO YOU NEED?

The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults*:

Age 50 and younger Age 51 and older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

*From Mayoclinic.com

WHY EAT FIBER?

Colon cancer is a major health problem. This disease is most common in Western cultures such as ours. Most colon cancer starts out as a colon polyp, a benign mushroom-shaped growth. In time it grows, and in some people it becomes cancerous.

There is a very low rate of colon cancer in residents of countries where grains are unprocessed and still contain their fiber and other natural nutrients. Cancer-containing agents (carcinogens) remain in contact with the colon wall for a longer time and in higher concentrations. Fiber tends to add bulk to your stools which may act to dilute these carcinogens by moving them through the bowel more quickly. Having little carcinogenic exposure to the colon will mean fewer colon polyps and less cancer. So by adding plenty of fiber to your diet you are naturally helping yourself to ward off colon cancer.

Having plenty of fiber in the diet can also help with weight loss. Fiber helps us to get rid of wastes and helps to keep food moving through the intestine. The more fiber you eat, the more waste your body gets rid of.

Another positive benefit to fiber is that it can help make you feel full. By eating high fiber foods you may not feel as hungry, and therefore eat fewer calories. Both of these benefits help with maintaining a normal weight.

THAT’S A LOT OF ROUGHAGE!

The recommended amount of fiber is 20 or so grams per day. For most people, this is a lot of fiber! Most people do not consume this much each day because their diets are devoid of vegetables, whole grains, and complex carbohydrates. Patients have told us that they eat fruit and vegetables everyday, so therefore, they consume adequate fiber. One piece of fruit contains 3 or 4 grams of fiber. Whole grain breads and cereals should contain at least 5 grams of fiber to be considered high fiber. Regular breads and cereals typically contain a measly 1 or 2 grams per serving. Vegetables contain about 4-8 grams of fiber per serving on average. Fresh produce contains more fiber than canned or frozen varieties. Legumes such as lentils, beans, and split peas contain upwards of 10 grams of fiber per serving and are obviously a very good fiber source. Read your labels! What we need you to consume are complex carbohydrates versus simple carbohydrates!

WHAT ARE COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES?

In the world of nutrition, you hear a lot about carbohydrates. The terms complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, and then carbs for short, are used to describe foods. But, what do all those terms mean? Many patients come here who ask what exactly a complex carb is when we’re going over the breakdown for their Hauser Diet plans. This is an important concept to grasp, so read on to make sure you are truly aware of the nutritional quality of your food choices.

The Health Benefits of Fiber

If someone asked us our number one topic to discuss concerning nutrition, it would be fiber! We think the health benefits of this nutrient are immeasurable. It’s probably the first thing we look for in someone’s diet. When scanning a food diary, we add up how many grams of fiber that person is getting.

Colon cancer is a major health problem. This disease is most common in Western cultures. Most colon cancer starts out as a colon polyp, a benign mushroom-shaped growth. In time it grows, and in some people it becomes cancerous.

There is a very low rate of colon cancer in residents of countries where grains are unprocessed and still contain their fiber and other natural nutrients. Cancer-containing agents (carcinogens) remain in contact with the colon wall for a longer time and in higher concentrations. Fiber tends to add bulk to you stools which may act to dilute these carcinogens by moving them through the bowel more quickly. Having little carcinogenic exposure to the colon will mean fewer colon polyps and less cancer. So by adding plenty of fiber to your diet you are naturally helping yourself to ward off colon cancer.

Having plenty of fiber in the diet can also help with weight loss. Fiber helps us to get rid of wastes and helps to keep food moving through the intestine. The more fiber you eat, the more “stuff” your body gets rid of. This means we may not be absorbing all the calories we take in. Now, this also means you don’t want to over do fiber because you don’t want to excrete much needed nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but taking in too little prevents the excretion of some unneeded by products we put in our body. Another positive benefit to fiber is that it can make us feel fuller, quicker. By eating fibrous foods you may not feel as hungry, and therefore take in less calories. Both of these benefits help with weight loss, or more so help fight against weight gain.

The recommended amount of fiber is twenty grams per day. This is a lot! Most people do not get this much a day. You may say that you eat fruit and vegetables everyday, well one piece of fruit only has 3 or 4 grams of fiber. Whole grain breads and cereals should contain at least 5 grams of fiber to be considered high fiber. Read your labels! If you are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains, you may need to start taking a fiber supplement.

If you are a Lion or Otter your diet does not allow for many fruits, vegetables, or grains, then you will most likely need to take a fiber supplement. What ever whole grains you do take in you should make them count. Don’t waste your complex carbs on a piece of whole grain bread that has 1 gram of fiber in it. Bears may not need a supplement if they just pick the right foods!

If you are a Monkey or Giraffe, make sure you eat the correct serving sizes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and don’t just fill up on simple carbs! This way you will be getting the right amount of fiber. As for the Bears you may not need a supplement if they just pick the right foods!

Drinking plenty of water is also important. Water helps to soften your stools. Fiber acts a lot like a sponge. It needs water to help cleanse our systems. With out water our bowels would turn hard and make us constipated. A high-fiber diet with plenty of water causes a large, soft, bulky stool that passes through the bowel easily and quickly. Because of this action, digestive tract disorders may be avoided or halted by following a high-fiber diet. A softer, larger stool helps prevent constipation and straining. This can help avoid or relieve hemorrhoids. More bulk means less pressure in the colon, which is important in the treatment of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber has also been shown to be helpful in relationship to diabetes and elevated cholesterol. So bulk up today – and we’re not talking muscles!

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