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Dietary Fiber Cheat Sheet!

Dietary Fiber Cheat Sheet!

Dietary fiber– Isn’t that stuff that you find in certain foods that make them taste really bad?  Well, sometimes, but not always…

Though I personally cringe at the thought of sitting down to a breakfast of Bran Buds or similar types of cereals, we should be more cognizant of our dietary fiber intake.

Most people fail to consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber or what’s commonly referred to as “roughage” in our diets.

Many people simply lack an understanding of the importance of dietary fiber, how much they actually need to consume per day, or what the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber.  For those people, help is here: Dr. Morrow’s Dietary Fiber Cheat Sheet!

What Is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a relatively broad term that includes many plant components that share the characteristics of being indigestible.  This means that dietary fiber is not digested, absorbed by the body, or used for energy.  There are two main sources of dietary fiber–soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.  *Note many plant sources include both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and does not get broken down by bacteria in the intestine.  Instead, it essentially absorbs water to help to increase bulk and to soften stool.

The net effect of insoluble fiber is that it promotes regular bowel movements.  Additionally, insoluble fiber helps us to feel full which may reduce obesity.  It also may reduce our risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Food Sources of Insoluble Fiber:

  1. Whole-wheat products
  2. Corn Bran
  3. Brown rice
  4. Certain vegetables (Carrots, celery, tomatoes)

Soluble Fiber differs from the insoluble fiber in that it dissolves in water and additionally is broken down by bacteria in the intestine.  Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestines and is thought to help minimize the rise in blood sugar following a meal.

Dietary Sources of Soluble Fiber:

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Beans
  3. Fruits such as apples, plums, kiwi, pears, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, citrus fruits, dried apricots, prunes, and figs.
  4. Some vegetables (dried peas, beans, and lentils)

Potential Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber:

  1. Helps prevent constipation
  2. May reduce the risk of colon cancer
  3. May reduces LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular risk
  4. May reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  5. Helps to increase satiety and reduce caloric intake

How Much Dietary Fiber Do You Need Per Day? (New Guidelines)

  • 25 g for adult women

  • 38 g for adult men

How Much Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber?

It really doesn’t matter so much, both types are important, just try to consume more fiber!

“Few fiber supplements have been studied for physiological effectiveness, so the best advice is to consume fiber in foods.” (Slavin et al, 2008).


  1. Bazzano LA. Effects of soluble dietary fiber on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2008 Dec;10(6):473-7.
  2. Slavin JL. Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Oct;108(10):1716-31.


  • Jarret Morrow

    Hi Dr. Nicole, thanks again for your comment. When I was in medical school, the recommendation at the time were for men to consume 30g per day of fiber. From, Slavin el al (2008), "Dietary Reference Intakes recommend consumption of 14 g dietary fiber per 1,000 kcal, or 25 g for adult women and 38 g for adult men, based on epidemiologic studies showing protection against cardiovascular disease." ***The recommendations of the American Dietetic Association do vary for age groups and pregnancy status for women. i.e. Men over 50 are only suggested to consume 30g/day of dietary fiber. Most men don't consume 30g of dietary fiber per day let alone the American Diatetic Association's recommendation of 38g/day for adult men. You're right that no one will be meeting this recommendation--except maybe Mike from, "Live Life 365." Reference: Slavin JL. Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Oct;108(10):1716-31.

  • Dr. Nicole Sundene

    Wow! 38 grams of fiber for men now? When did that change? Now no one will be making the recommended allowance.

  • Mike Foster

    Excellent and informative article about a topic that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. FIBER! Also thanks for the links to my sites, much appreciated. I think the key to getting more fiber into one's diet is to limit the intake of certain foods, like animal proteins or carbs. No need to become a vegetarian, like me, but at least cut down on meat consumption, replacing it with more vegetable proteins loaded with fiber, like beans and whole wheat products, fruits and veggies, and the rest will take care of itself. peace, mike livelife365

  • Jason

    What I did to increase my fiber intake was start eating a half sandwich for lunch rather than a whole sandwich. I then supplement my lunch with fruits and vegetables. Every day I eat an apple, a banana, carrots, a salad, and an orange. I also start the day with cereal. Here is to fiber!

  • Jarret Morrow

    Mike, thank you for your comment. I agree that cutting down on animal protein and carbs--then eating more vegetable proteins which are loaded with fiber as you mentioned certainly help. Dr. Nicole's Vegetable protein article is a great example of this (link at the end of the article above). cheers, Jarret

  • Jarret Morrow

    Rogue, thank you for your recent comment. Mike from, "Live Life 365" is a strong fiber proponent and pretty close to a fiber guru. You should visit his site to get some practical tips on how to consume more fiber in your diet. He has some interesting videos on his site including, "A day of fiber" which you might find helpful.

  • PerryP@How to lose weight

    The nice thing about fiber is that it keeps you full... so it reduces cravings and helps to lose weight. Also, it helps against developing colon cancer. Nowadays people eat way too much refined food with too little fiber. Eating food that has no label on it helps.

  • Melyssa

    Nice breakdown of the two different types of fiber. I was not aware of their different functions.

  • mable mullen

    I love raw cabbage and your list or any list I find only give the grams of fiber for 1cup cooked cabbage. What is the fiber count for 1 cup of raw cabbage?

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