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Fiber for All!

Fabulous Fiber
No single nutrient does more to purify our bodies and prevent diseases than fiber.  As important as fiber is, it remains largely misunderstood.  Here’s some of the most common fiber facts and fallacies.

Fallacy: I get plenty of fiber, I have a salad everyday.

Fact: Salads are great sources of produce.  We all should be focusing on getting plenty of produce from a variety of sources.  Having said that, salads as typically made rarely provide more than a few grams of fiber.  Most provide high amounts of saturated fats in the dressing and cheese and trans-fatty acids in the croutons.  To order a healthy salad, hold the cheese and croutons, get vinaigrette on the side and add some beans.

Fallacy: I can’t eat high fiber foods like beans, they give me gas and bloating.

Fact: This definitely can happen initially.  What is going on is that the fiber stimulates growth of specific strains of good bacteria.  If you have too few of them, they kill off bad organisms in your intestines.  This killing off process releases gas.  When it comes to adding fiber, take it slowly.  Even just add a tablespoon or two of beans to your food each day for a few weeks.  Soon you’ll be able to thrive on high fiber foods without chasing away those around you!

Fallacy: I’m trying to lose weight so I’m staying away from grains.

Fact: While most of us get too much processed carbohydrates in our diets, numerous studies show that those who eat the most high fiber whole grains are the leanest.  If weight loss is a goal, you still need grains but in the right amounts.  Consume roughly 1/2 of a cup of brown rice, bulgar wheat, quinoa, barley or oatmeal with each meal.

Fallacy: High fiber foods taste bad!

Fact: Flavors in foods are carried by volatile aromatic compounds.  These compounds are at their highest concentration in the germ of the grain.  Think of a grain like an egg.  The shell is the husk, the starch is the white and the germ is the yolk.  Refined grains are just the starch, the complex flavors and aromas are lost in the refining process.   Pick up a pound of organic basmati brown rice and a pound of plain white rice.  Cook the white rice and notice the lack of aroma in the kitchen.  Then try the basmati, the whole kitchen will smell like hot buttered popcorn.  By the way, popcorn is also a whole grain!

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