High Fiber Foods for Gluten-Free Diets
By Nancy Lapid
Updated August 04, 2010
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Enough Gluten-Free Fiber In Your Diet? High-Fiber Foods For Celiacs
Johanna Hantel / Getty Images
Why Is Fiber Important?
Fiber in foods helps digestion, prevents constipation
, lowers cholesterol
, and reduces the risk of some chronic diseases. Patients with diverticulosis
, and heart disease
are often advised to add fiber to their diets. Because fiber adds bulk, it makes you feel full faster (with fewer calories), which can help you eat less and control your weight.
Why Is Fiber a Challenge For Celiacs?
Along with fruits and vegetables, the most common sources of dietary fiber are whole-grain breads and cereals, but people on gluten-free diets
cannot simply go to the supermarket and buy ready-made whole-grain
products. The majority of packaged high-fiber products contain gluten
. Not surprisingly, medical research shows that people on gluten-free diets tend to eat inadequate amounts of fiber.
How Much Fiber Do We Need?
The recommendation for adolescents and adults is 20-35 grams/day. To find out how much fiber a child needs, add 5 to the child's age in years. The total is the amount of fiber (in grams) the child should eat each day. A 7-year-old, for example, should eat 12 grams of fiber per day (7 + 5 = 12).
Sources of Gluten-Free Fiber
Fortunately, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free high-fiber foods. If you think you might not be eating enough fiber, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian, and take a look at the ideas we've provided in the next few pages.
Caution: adding large amounts of fiber to your diet too quickly can cause gas, bloating, and cramps. Add fiber gradually, to let your digestive tract adjust. It's also very important to drink lots of fluids.
National Institutes of Health
Children's Hospital Boston
Thompson T et al. Gluten-free diet survey: are Americans with coeliac disease consuming recommended amounts of fibre, iron, calcium and grain foods? J Hum Nutr Diet 2005;18:163-9