Are you getting enough?
Dietary fibre is only found in plant foods and it is usually classified as soluble (also called functional) or insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and insoluble fibre does not. Although current scientific research is inconclusive, both forms of dietary fibre seem very important to diabetics. Insoluble fibre helps reduce post-meal blood glucose levels and seems to be a major contributing factor to the glycemic index of foods. Soluble fibre helps reduce total and LDL blood cholesterol levels and helps regulate blood glucose levels. Increasing your dietary fibre intake may also help you eat less, because you will feel more full, and therefore help reduce your weight.

How much is enough?

Adults, aged 20 and over, need to eat about 25 to 35 grams of dietary fibre/day (5-15g soluble). Note that too much fibre may interfere with the absorption of some nutrients. It is also appears to be important to obtain your dietary fibre from a variety of whole foods, rather than from a fibre supplement. Children, older than 2, need to eat an amount equal to their age plus 5g/day. With an increase in dietary fibre it is important to ensure that you are drinking enough water, at least 8 glasses/day.

What kind of results can you expect?

One gram of soluble fibre, within a range of 2-10g, can change your total cholesterol by -0.045mmol/L (1.740mg/dl), LDL cholesterol by -0.057mmol/L (2.204mg/dl), HDL cholesterol by -0.003mmol/L (0.116mg/dl), and triglycerides by +0.003mmol/L (0.266mg/dl). For example, if you increase your soluble dietary fibre intake by 5g, to a maximum of 10g, you will lower your total cholesterol by about 0.225mmol/L (8.7mg/dl), lower your LDL cholesterol by about 0.285mmol/L (11.02mg/dl), increase your HDL cholesterol by about 0.015mmol/L (0.58mg/dl), and increase your triglycerides by about 0.015mmol/L (1.33mg/dl). Best source per gram of dietary fibre for: lowering total cholesterol-Pectin (0.070mmol/L or 2.707mg/dl); lowering LDL cholesterol- Psyllium (0.067mmol/L or 2.591mg/dl); all sources increase HDL cholesterol marginally; lowering triglycerides-Pectin (0.021mmol/L or 1.86mg/dl), other sources increase marginally.

Source: Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber. Lisa Brown, Bernard Rosner, Walter W. Willett and Frank M. Sacks. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 69, No. 1, pages 30-42, January 1999.

Good food sources of dietary fibre

Food Source
Amount
Calories
Fibre (grams)
Total
Soluble
Apple, medium, no skin
1
70
2.0
0.3
Banana, medium, 8-inch
1
96
2.0
0.6
Beans, baked in tomatoe sauce
1/2 cup
90
8.0
-
Beans, black, uncooked
1/2 cup
95
9.7
-
Beans, kidney, uncooked
1/2 cup
94
9.7
2.1
Beans, lima, uncooked
1/2 cup
150
5.8
-
Beans, pinto, uncooked
1/2 cup
78
9.4
1.9
Beans, white, uncooked
1/2 cup
80
8.0
-
Beans, navy, uncooked
1/2 cup
80
8.0
-
Beets, cooked, sliced
1/2 cup
33
2.5
-
Blueberries
1/2 cup
27
4.4
-
Bread, dark rye
1 slice
108
5.8
-
Bread, Dempster's flax
1 slice
116
3.0
-
Bread, Dempster's wheat & oats
1 slice
109
2.4
-
Bread, pumpernickel
1 slice
116
4.0
-
Bread, Dempster's 12 grain
1 slice
118
3.0
-
Bread, Dempster's whole wheat
1 slice
70
1.5
-
Broccoli, fresh, cooked
3/4 cup
30
7.0
0.6
Brussel sprouts, cooked
3/4 cup
36
3.0
-
Cabbage, white or red, shredded, raw
1/2 cup
8
1.5
0.1
Carrots, raw, 1 medium
1
10
1.8
0.2
Cauliflower, cooked
1 cup
16
2.3
-
Celery,raw, chopped
1/4 cup
5
2
-
Cereal, Kellogg's All-Bran Buds with Psyllium
1/3 cup
70
13.0
3
Cereal, Kellogg's All-Bran Flakes
1 cup
100
4.3
-
Cereal, McCann's Irish Oatmeal
1/4 cup
150
4.0
-
Cereal, President's Choice Fibre First
1/2 cup
94
13.0
-
Coconut, dried, unsweetened
1 tbsp
22
3.4
-
Corn, on-the-cob, canned or frozen
1/2 cup
67
5.0
0.2
Cornbread, square (2 1/2-inch)
1
93
3.4
-
Crackers, Christie, triscuits, original
4
92
2.0
-
Crackers, Red Oval Farms, stoned wheat thins
3
83
2.5
-
English muffin, whole wheat
1
125
3.7
-
Figs, dried
3
120
10.5
-
Garlic, raw
1/2 cup
102
1.4
-
Grapes, red or black
20
65
1.0
0.1
Lentils, brown, uncooked
1/3 cup
144
5.5
0.7
Nuts, almonds, whole
1 tbsp
14
0.6
-
Nuts, almonds, sliced
1/4 cup
56
2.4
-
Nuts, brazil, shelled
2
48
2.5
-
Nuts, peanuts, dry roasted
1 tbsp
52
1.1
-
Nuts, walnuts, English, shelled, chopped
1 tbsp
49
1.1
-
Muffins, bran with whole wheat, small
1
68
2.3
-
Orange, small
1
35
1.2
0.4
Parsnip, pared, cooked, small
1
38
1.4
-
Pasta, enriched, Presidents Choice, tricolour rotini, uncooked
3/4 cup
266
2.5
-
Pear, small
1
88
4.0
-
Peas, green , fresh or frozen, cooked
1/2 cup
60
3.0
0.8
Peas, black-eyed, frozen or canned
1/2 cup
74
8.0
-
Peas, snap or snow
1/2 cup
10
2.1
-
Peas, split, dry
1/2 cup
63
6.7
-
Peas, chick (garbanzos) canned
1/2 cup
86
6.0
-
Popcorn, no oil, butter, or margarine
1 cup
20
1.0
-
Potatoes, baked in skin, small
1
120
4.2
1.0
Potatoes, boiled, peeled, medium
1
100
3.5
0.8
Potatoes, mashed (with 1 tbsp milk)
1/2 cup
85
3.0
-
Raisins, seedless
1 tbsp
29
1.0
0.1
Raspberries, red, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup
20
4.6
-
Rice, brown, before cooking
1/2 cup
83
5.5
-
Stawberries, no suger added
1/2 cup
23
1.5
0.3
Sauerkraut, canned
2/3 cup
15
3.1
-
Tomatoes, small
1
22
1.4
0.2
Turnip, yellow (rutabaga), cooked
1/2 cup
40
3.2
-

What next?

Eat more fibre! Eat fibre from a wide variety of high-fibre whole-food sources to gain the maximum health benefits. Increase your dietary fibre intake gradually. Don't forget to drink enough water, at least 8 glasses/day. As always, before making any significant changes to your diet, discuss incorporating more dietary fibre into your diet with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Updated: March 12, 2003