Follow the fiber

tempeh bowl
Tofu is a good source of fiber but tempeh is a fiber superstar! Try it in our recipe for PCC Southeast Asian Tempeh.

Fiber doesn't receive as much praise as other nutritional buzzwords (antioxidants, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids), but it should — a food's fiber content is a great indicator of wholesome, minimally processed foods.

The more processed a food is, the lower its fiber content will be. A whole apple provides 3 to 4 grams of fiber while a peeled apple provides 2 grams, and apple juice contains no fiber at all. The same trend is visible as whole grains are refined, as vegetables get peeled, and as nuts (and beans) are processed into nut milks.

How much fiber?

Most Americans consume less than half of the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber we should be consuming each day, so there is plenty of room for improvement. It is wise to go slowly when increasing your fiber intake to allow your body to adapt — abdominal cramping or gas may occur if you transition too quickly to a higher fiber diet. Although the human body can handle much more than the 38 grams/day recommended by the USDA. Our "Paleolithic" ancestors very likely consumed over 100 grams of fiber each day — they certainly didn't have any processed, packaged foods at their campfires!

Why fiber?

Increasing your fiber intake will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you full in-between meals. Adequate fiber intake supports heart health because soluble fibers lower cholesterol levels. And of course fiber also supports gut health, as insoluble fibers help to push food through the GI tract. Another reason to love foods high in fiber (beans, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts) is because these foods provide those other nutritional buzzwords — vitamins, minerals and antioxidants galore!

Fiber and food preparation.

Peeling fruits and vegetables lowers their fiber content; but chopping, cooking, puréeing or blending foods will not reduce the fiber content at all.

Search for high-fiber foods made in the PCC Deli using our online deli nutrition database. "High fiber" is one of 10 nutritional filters to help you select the healthiest dishes.

Where you will (and won't) find fiber

super fiber

Super

Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, bulgur
Dried fruits: apricots, prunes, raisins, etc.
Other: chia seeds, cocoa powder, tempeh, and certain fruits (avocados, figs, pears)


high fiber

High

Whole grains: oats, popcorn, wild rice
Produce: artichoke hearts, bananas, Brussels sprouts, dates, winter squash, yams
Nuts & seeds


good fiber

Good

Grains: brown rice, quinoa
Produce: apples, berries, oranges, peaches, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes (with skin), spinach
Other: peanut butter, tofu


low fiber

Low

Refined grains: bread, pasta, “white” rice
Certain veggies: bell peppers, lettuce, peeled produce
Processed foods: baked goods, crackers, potato chips


no fiber

No fiber

juice, soda, sugar, milk and other milk alternatives, eggs, cheese, meat, poultry, cooking oils

More about: diet, fiber, nutrition

Related Content

Podcast button

Nick Rose, M.S.

Nick Rose, PCC Cooks instructor

As a Nutrition Educator for PCC Natural Markets, Nick leads weekly "Walk, Talk, and Taste" classes, where he reveals the seasonal, sustainable, and delicious food choices found at PCC. Before coming to PCC, Nick taught nutrition courses at Bastyr University and his alma mater-Virginia Tech.

Ask the nutritionist

Ask the Nutritionist appears each month in PCC Taste magazine.

Have a nutrition topic suggestion or a question? Write us: