High-Fiber Diet

At a doctor’s recommendation, we are trying to adopt a high-fiber diet in our home these days. But we’re confused. In terms of grams, what is considered to be high fiber? —R.F., Tucker, Georgia

Fiber in the diet provides bulk or roughage and aids in proper digestion. Foods that are fiber-rich include most fruits and vegetables, dried beans and whole grains. If you’re like most people, your day’s meals and snacks come up short on fiber, supplying only about half the amount your body needs. On average, most people consume only about 11 grams of fiber daily. Many experts recommend individuals eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. However, there is not a Recommended Dietary Allowance for total fiber intake per day as there is for many vitamins and minerals. Try high-fiber breakfast cereals like Fiber One, All-Bran or 100% Bran. When you are grocery shopping, be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels for the specific amount of fiber in the products you are buying. You might also want to keep these definitions in mind: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if a package touts "high fiber", the product contains 5 grams or more of fiber per serving. If it reads "good source", it has from 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving. And if the words "more fiber" or "added fiber" appear, it means the manufacturer has enhanced the fiber in that product by at least 2.5 grams more per serving than you would find in other comparable food products. Cereals are often enhanced with additional fiber and labeled this way. Cornflakes with more or added fiber, for instance, would have at least 2.5 grams more per serving than other standard cornflakes on the market.