Finding Fibre

Why your body loves fibre, and you should too.

Fibre (the part of plant-based foods that your body doesn't digest) does many amazing things for you. There are two types, and each benefits your body in different ways. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, transforming into a gel-like substance that can slow digestion and absorption. Insoluble fibre adds bulk and helps move food through your digestive system.

You might not know it, but getting enough fibre in your daily diet can help:

  • Make you feel full for longer, which can assist with weight management
  • Keep you regular and promote digestive health
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels

Find fibre faster.
That slice of brown bread looks like it's made with whole wheat and that cereal is loaded with little twigs, so it's got to be high in fibre, right? Not necessarily.

Some breads are only brown because they contain molasses or food coloring, so they look like they're high in fibre, but they aren't. Some white breads are made with whole grains from a special kind of albino flour, so they don't look (or taste) like they're high in fibre, but they are. Even some cereals with the word "wheat" in the name offer as little as 0.6 grams of fibre per serving, while others pack five times as much. The same can be true for other foods like pasta.

Understand common fibre claims.
Because looks can be deceiving, finding foods that are actually high in fibre can take a bit of hunting. To simplify your search, here are some common fibre claims you'll find on food packages, and what they actually mean.

“Source of fibre” or “Contains fibre”
The food contains at least 2 g of fibre per serving*

“High in fibre” or “High source of fibre”
The food contains at least 4 g of fibre per serving.*

“Excellent source of fibre”, “Very high in fibre” or “Rich in fibre”
The food contains at least 6 g of fibre per serving.*

Source: Health Canada: Nutrient content claims and what they mean. August 31, 2010.
* Amounts listed are per reference amount and per serving OR per 100 g if the food is a pre-packaged meal.

Make smart fibre choices.
The best way to make smart fibre choices? Always read food labels carefully before you buy, and enjoy a variety of foods that are high in fibre. Most fibre-rich foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, but in different amounts. Adding variety to your diet will help you cover both kinds. There are many delicious fibre-rich foods to choose from. Here are some fabulous finds, ranked by the fibre grams they contain:

Red kidney beans, canned, 1/2 cup (125 ml)— 8.2 g
Lentils, cooked, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—7.8 g
Refried beans, canned, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—6.7 g
Chickpeas, canned, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—5.3 g
Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—5.2 g

Asian pear, fresh, 1 medium—9.9 g
Blackberries, fresh, 1 cup (125 ml)—7.6 g
Pear, fresh, 1 medium—5.1 g
Apple, with skin, 1 medium—3.3 g

Cereal, grains & pasta
Rye wafers, 2—5.0 g
Bulgur, cooked, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—4.1 g
Spaghetti, whole wheat, cooked, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—3.2 g
Barley, pearled, cooked, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—3.0 g

Artichoke, 1 medium—6.5 g
Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup (125 ml)—5.1 g
Sweet potato, with skin, baked, 1—4.8 g
Peas, frozen, cooked, 1/2 cup (125 ml)—4.4 g

Nuts & seeds
Almonds, 28 g (24 nuts)—3.3 g
Pistachios, 28 g (47 nuts)—2.9 g

Source: USDA Food Nutrient Database

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