Why is fibre Important?

What you need to know to make sure you are getting enough dietary fibre.

  • Starches and fibre are names of carbohydrates found within bread, cereal, potatoes, rice and pasta. Starches are not fattening until we consider the way in which they have been prepared or cooked and the starch’s consumption contributes to an excess calorie intake.

  • There are two types of fibre, ‘soluble’ and ‘insoluble’. The soluble fibres minimise glucose and lipid absorption (any of a class of organic compounds that are fatty acids or their derivatives), whereas insoluble fibres contribute more to increased stool weight and reduced intestinal transit times, thus reducing constipation.

  • Dietary fibre is a term that is used for non-digestible carbohydrates. Fibre is important for our health and for reducing the risk of some diseases (e.g. heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer). Fibre helps our digestive health, it helps you to feel full after eating, can help with weight management, Lower cholesterol levels (especially low density lipoprotein) and fibre can reduce the risk of constipation.

  • Remember to Drink lots of water - A high-fibre diet may not prevent or cure constipation unless you drink enough water every day. Some very high-fibre breakfast cereals may have around 10g of fibre per serve, and if this cereal is not accompanied by enough fluid, it may cause abdominal discomfort or constipation.

  • In the UK most people do not eat enough fibre (the average intake is 17.2/day for women and 20.1g/day for men). The recommended average intake for adults is 30g per day.

  • Fibre is found in breakfast cereals, wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta, beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables, it is essential that these foods are eaten regularly to obtain the recommended daily intake.

How to increase fibre intake.

  • Try to introduce high fibre cereals into your diet.

  • Add bran to muffins, breads and casserole.

  • Try to have baked potatoes with the skin.

  • Go for wholemeal or wholegrain bread instead of white bread.

  • Look out for high-fibre breads and breads with added seeds.

  • Try wholemeal pasta and brown rice instead of white pasta and white rice.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables raw where possible.

  • Boiling can result in a loss of up to one-half of the fibre to be lost in the water and consider steaming or stir frying to retain more fibre.

  • Puréeing doesn’t destroy fibre, but juices will lose the fibre of the whole fruit is the pulp is strained away.

  • Aim for 5 pieces of fruits and vegetables every day. They are low in calories and full of fibre to give that fuller feeling for longer. They will fill you up.

  • Add beans and lentils to salads, soups and stews. Consider beans on toast as a light meal or try some salads with added kidney beans, chickpeas and butterbeans.

Fibre intake of more than 30 g per day

  • 2 whole wheat cereal biscuits (for example Weetabix)

  • 4 slices wholegrain bread

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • 2 pieces of fruit (apple & pear)

  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

  • 1 small boiled potato with skin, 100 g

  • 1 cup white cooked spaghetti (Try and whole wheat spaghetti and rice)

  • 2 whole meal dry biscuits

  • 25 almonds

  • 1 cup whole fruit juice

Further reading and sources


British Nutrition Foundation

National Diet & Nutrition Survey

NHS – Eat Well -

Better Health Channel


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