Smart Food Choices

High Fibre vs Low Fibre Diet

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check

Ashley Charlebois, RD, Local Registered Dietitians discusses a high-fibre vs. low-fibre diet.

Quiz: Do You Understand High and Low Fiber Diets?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Eating a high-fiber diet may reduce your risk of depression.

Explanation:
Research shows that eating a fiber-rich diet might be linked with a reduced risk of depression, especially in premenopausal women.
2

There are two different types of fiber.

Explanation:
There is insoluble fiber, which are things like whole grains, beans, nuts and certain vegetables and fruits. Secondly, there is soluble fiber, which includes things like vegetables, citrus fruits and oats. It can be confusing because most foods are actually a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, so talk to your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist for clarification.
3

Refined processed foods are higher in fiber.

Explanation:
Refined processed foods such as white bread and pasta are lower in fiber. These foods are linked to a higher risk of health problems such as obesity, cancer, depression and high blood pressure.
4

Doctors will never recommend a low-fiber diet.

Explanation:
Some patients may need to follow a low-fiber diet after bowel surgery, or if they have a condition such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. A low-fiber diet contains foods that don't create much waste, giving your bowels a break.
5

You should generally avoid high-fiber foods right before a workout.

Explanation:
While fiber is great for your gut, it could slow down your exercise routine. Too much fiber before a workout may make you feel bloated or nauseous. Also, because high-fiber foods take longer to digest, more blood will be flowing to your gastrointestinal tract to aid digestion, instead of going to your muscles.
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Featured Healthy Food Choice

High Fibre vs Low Fibre Diet

A high fiber diet is usually really beneficial. It often helps to protect us against certain diseases like heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers, and usually does also help with our digestion.

There are two different types of fiber. There is insoluble fiber, which is things like whole grains, and other vegetables and fruit, and then there is soluble fiber, which are more so in the category of vegetables and fruits, but also oats, different legumes. But it can be confusing because most foods are actually a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, but are some higher in soluble, and some are higher in insoluble than others.

A high fiber diet usually contains about 25 to 35 grams of fibre per day, meaning that you want to aim for high fiber foods at all of your meals and snacks throughout the day, including a diet of meals and snacks full of whole grains and a variety of different vegetables and fruits to get to this goal.

On the other side of things, if you are experiencing problems with digestion, and if you have, for example, irritable bowel disease, where you have flare-ups, then you might actually benefit from a low fibre diet during certain phases.

If you think you will benefit from a low fiber diet, you want to aim for less than 10 grams of fiber per day. So it’s quite a switch from the high fiber diet.

Examples of foods that would be beneficial if you are on a low fiber diet include avoiding whole grains, and instead choosing more of the rich, refined pastas, breads, bagels, crackers, choosing white rice over brown rice, and not necessarily eliminating vegetables and fruit completely as these are extremely nutritious foods, but instead of having canned vegetables and fruits, having applesauce, and cooking your vegetables so that it does decrease the fiber quantity of it.

However, you do want to avoid certain vegetables, such as those that belong to the cruciferous family, so broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbages, and things like that. Even if they’re cooked, they do have a high amount of fiber, and you wouldn’t want to include that in your diet. Local Registered Dietitians

Presenter: Ms. Ashley Charlebois, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

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