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Before we dive too deep into this subject, it’s important to understand how the diet industry defines carbohydrates. In most cases, these strategies are an effort to make a product sound unique or beneficial. The most misunderstood way to consume carbohydrates involves some unethical nonsense on the nutrition label. Specifically “net carbs.”

Net Carbs Explained

“Net carbs” isn’t a legally defined term. In fact, the only type of carbohydrate the Food & Drug Administration regulates is TOTAL Carbs. Not coincidentally, Balanced Habits™ also recommends only counting TOTAL Carbohydrates, with the majority of your food intake coming from real, whole foods.

Net carbs are the carbohydrates in food that your body can digest and use for energy. To understand how to calculate net carbs, take the food’s total carbs and subtract fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead passes through the body undigested. Don’t underestimate the importance of fiber in your daily diet.

The most common theme this year has been the attention to “gut health,” and for good reason. The American Diet is notoriously very low in fiber. Most healthy adults should be aiming for 25-35 grams of fiber per day, and yet research shows that only one in 10 adults get that much fiber in their diet; with the other nine getting closer to just 10-15 grams per day.

Benefits of Fiber

Fiber happens to be the desired food choice to maintain optimal gut health. Your gut microbes prefer to consume fibrous foods. Without that choice, these microbes will snack on other undigested food sources, mainly proteins, which may lead to constipation and a bloated belly.

High fiber foods have been linked to reduced risks with newly common diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, as well as improved gut health, and overall weight management. Dr. Frank Hu, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health cautions that although higher fiber foods can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, it’s important to get fiber from food sources and not from supplements.

Adding fiber to your diet is easy and delicious!

Ready to learn how to set your plate up for success? We wanted to provide a list of out top picks for high fiber food choices to add in on a daily basis with ease.

Best High Fiber Foods – Fruits & Vegetables

Which fruits and veggies are the best high fiber foods?

Apples, oranges, and strawberries each have around 3-4 grams of fiber. Notice that all three choices have skin, fibers and seeds. This is where the fiber is! Raspberries are the big winner though with 8 grams per cup.

For vegetables, think dark & bright colors. The darker and brighter the vegetable, the higher the fiber content. Beets, broccoli and carrots are all incredibly rich in fiber. Although, the highest fiber of the veggies is the mighty artichoke with a whopping 10 grams for an average size.

Best High Fiber Foods – Legumes

Beans and Lentils are an easy way to add fiber into your diet. Add them to soups, stews, salads, or as their own
side dish. Although, because the Total Carb count can get very high, as these are highly condensed options, be mindful to not overdo it.

Best High Fiber Foods – Snack Ideas

Nuts, seeds, flaxseed, dried fruits (mainly prunes & raisins), hummus paired with fresh vegetables, and even
popcorn are all great options to up your fiber intake! See how easy and delicious it can be to improve your daily fiber intake?

What To Look For

If you’re not getting in enough fiber in your daily diet, there are some very clear signs to be aware of. Constipation or feeling hungry within a short period of time after eating a low-fiber meal are both signs that you should take a look at your diet. Although, a word of caution when deciding to add more fiber into your daily diet: do it gradually to prevent bloating, gas, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal issues. These are all signs of too much too fast.

Next up we’ll explain the benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber.

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