Updated: May 19
Fiber was a big deal back in the 70s and 80s. Bran was the superstar, headlining in the breakfast show. The next nutritional phase was low-fat/low cholesterol, (spurred on by the infamous Framingham study on heart disease), and, Big Food replaced the fats with sugar and other junk. Even non-sweet foods contain added sugar. As a result, Americans are largely addicted to sugar. So, whatever happened to fiber?
It is still true that fiber is a big deal. The benefits of a diet high in fiber include detoxification, cleaner colons, weight loss, and reduction in diabetes and cancer rates. Dietary fiber helps people feel fuller, stabilizes blood sugar, and assists in removing toxins and excess estrogen from the body. (Estrogen dominance is strongly linked to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of female cancers.)
On average, meat-eating Americans only consume around 12 grams of fiber per day while their vegetarian counterparts consume about 26 grams.
A great way to increase fiber is to make it a goal to eat one pound of vegetables (a mixture of raw and fresh) every day.
If your goals are detoxing and losing weight, and you only track 3 things per day, I suggest they be your filtered water intake (half your body weight in ounces each day), vegetables, and your fiber grams.
For best detox and weight loss, I suggest a goal of 35-40 grams of fiber per day for women and 45-50 grams for men. Avoid processed foods as your source, and focus on real, organic foods. Some great sources of fiber include broccoli, lentils, greens, ground flax, soaked chia seeds, artichoke hearts, berries, and powders or supplements. It is best to build up to your goal by increasing by 5 grams or so every 5-7 days if you experience any gastronomical distress. You will know you have reached your minimum fiber goal when you “go” 2-3 times each day.