4 Warning Signs Your Diet May Lack Fiber
Is your diet low on fiber? Find out and protect your health.
Is your diet short on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains? If so, you may
not be getting all the fiber you need -- raising your risks for weight gain,
disease, and cancer.
Though the symptoms of a fiber-poor diet aren't always clear-cut, there are
four key warning signs to watch for:
: If you're having fewer than three bowel movements a week, and the
stools are hard and dry, you're constipated. Constipation can result from lack
of fiber, but also from too little exercise and certain medications and
Prevention: If your constipation is diet-related, try adding more
fiber-rich foods such as apples, raspberries, carrots, broccoli, or whole
grains to your diet.
Boosting your fiber intake can help form soft, bulky stools, relieving and
preventing constipation. Be sure to add fiber slowly so your body gets used to
it. And help yourself stay regular by drinking plenty of fluids and exercising
Weight Gain: "Fiber contributes to satiety," says Kathleen
Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD. Satiety is that feeling of
comfortable fullness you get after a meal. If you're not experiencing that
feeling, Zelman says you may be eating more than your body needs.
Prevention: Try meeting the recommended goal of 25 to 35 grams of
fiber daily by enjoying fiber-filled foods like fresh fruit, whole grains, and
seasonal vegetables. Choose the fiber-rich foods you like best; you're more
likely to eat favorites often.
Blood Sugar Fluctuations: If you have diabetes and find
controlling your blood sugar difficult, talk to your doctor: you may not be
getting enough fiber.
Prevention: Because fiber delays the absorption of sugar, helping you
control blood sugar levels, try adding more fresh produce, beans and peas,
brown rice, and other high-fiber foods to your diet. Remember to discuss any
change in your diabetes management plan with your doctor.
Diet-Related Nausea & Tiredness: Getting most of your
calories from a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet -- one rich in meat, eggs,
and cheese and low in produce -- may lead not only to a rise in cholesterol,
but also leave you nauseous, tired, and weak.
Prevention: Try boosting your dietary fiber with the vitamin- and
mineral-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables your body needs, and cut back
on fatty foods.