Fabulous Fibre

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Why is fibre so fabulous?

Fibre is an important part of healthy diet, offering many different health benefits and may help with the following:

  • Regular bowel movements
  • Feeling full for a longer period
  • Lowering blood cholesterol levels
  • Managing blood glucose (sugar) levels

What foods contain fibre?

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as whole grain bread, cereals, pasta, brown rice, oats, legumes such as dried beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds all contain fibre.

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What are the different types of fibre and the associated health benefits?

Fibre is found in plant foods and is a non-digestible carbohydrate that your body cannot digest or absorb.  There are two main types of fibre which include soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre: This type of fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material and helps to lower cholesterol and control blood glucose (sugar) levels.  It also helps to manage diarrhea and loose stools, as well as helps to have a healthier colon by supporting the growth of good healthy bacteria. Soluble fibre is found in oats, barley, psyllium, legumes such as beans and lentils, some fruits such as apples, pears, strawberries and citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli, sweet potato, carrots and eggplant.

Insoluble fibre: This type of fibre does not dissolve in water. It promotes movement through the digestive system and adds bulk to stools, therefore this type of fibre helps to keep you regular. Insoluble fibre is found in wheat bran, whole grains, vegetables and fruits (especially with skins) and legumes such as beans and lentils.

Both types of fibre are important for good health and foods that contain fibre often have a mix of both types. It is important to eat a variety of foods rich in fibre to get the health benefits of both types.

How much fibre do I need?

Most Canadians are only getting half of their daily fibre requirements.

Health Canada recommends the following amount of fibre per day based on age and gender.

Age groupRecommended intake per day
Children 1-3 years 19 grams
Children 4-8 years 25 grams
Boys 9-13 years
Girls 9-13 years
31 grams
26 grams
Boys 14-18 years
Girls 14-18 years
38 grams
26 grams
Men 19-50 years
Women 19-50 years
38 grams
25 grams
Men 51 and over
Women 51 and over
30 grams
21 grams
Pregnant women28 grams
Breastfeeding women29 grams

Tip: Slowly increase the amount of fibre in your diet and drink plenty of fluids as your fibre intake increases to help the fibre work better and prevent gas and bloating.

How can I use the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged foods to help make healthier choices?

Fibre is one of the nutrients found on the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged food. Fibre is part of a healthy diet and a nutrient many may want more of. Use the % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts Table to choose and compare foods to help make healthier choices. Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.

How is the % DV for fibre calculated?

The Daily Value used in nutrition labelling is based on a reference diet of 25 g of fibre.

For example, if the Nutrition Facts table shows 5 g of fibre, the product would have a % Daily Value for fibre of 20%.
(5 g ÷ 25 g) × 100 = 20%.

Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.

Bottom Line: Fibre offers many different health benefits and most Canadians can benefit from including more as part of a healthy diet.

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