get fiber from nature

…Hope we all survived Monday Fun-Day! On to some research…

Foods that naturally contain high amounts of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Over the past several years there has been huge efforts made towards increasing fiber in the diet from alternate sources such as yogurt (e.g. Yoplait’s Fiber One yogurt) and granola bars (e.g. General Mill’s Fiber One bars), to name a few. These fiber sources contain isolated or functional fiber ingredients such as inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose [1]. The health benefits of these fiber sources remain to be seen. Mayo Clinic dietitian, Jennifer Nelson, states, “They have not necessarily been studied to see if they’re beneficial [1].”

Naturally-occurring fiber, dietary fiber, contains powerful cholesterol-lowering effects. Dietary fiber also decreases the glycemic index of foods, a most desirable feature among diabetics and the insulin resistant. Further, dietary fiber aids in preventing constipation and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulosis [1]. And lastly, a high-fiber diet helps to improve satiety, an important piece to any weight-loss or weight maintenance endeavor.

Fiber One bars are a perfect example of why label reading is crucial. While a 1.4-ounce breakfast bar contains a whopping 9 grams of fiber – nearly a third of the daily recommended intake – the product also contains chicory root extract (inulin), high-fructose corn syrup, and maltodextrin. Unfortunately, none of the “dietary” fiber in Fiber One bars comes from a natural, whole grain source.

While this post is not intended to slam Fiber One bars (truly!), I am simply trying to emphasize a diet rich in naturally-occurring high-fiber foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. While the jury is out on the efficacy of inulin, malrodextrin, and polydextrose, I recommend sticking to the tried and true fiber sources!

Remember 25 to 35 grams a day…every day! 😉

And in other news, we tried (and loved) another new recipe tonight…

Crock Pot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

Crockpot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

1 cup chopped onion
1 15 oz. can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (rinsed/drained)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1 small can chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
1 tbs. lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

Layer everything in the crock pot (chicken, onions, tomatoes, beans). Mix the broth, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cranberry sauce, chipotle peppers and lime juice in large bowl. Pour over all. Cook on low for 8 hours or on low for 4 hours. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 380 calories; 3.3 g. fat; 30 g. protein; 625 mg. sodium; 11.4 g. fiber; 59.6 g. carbohydrate

This recipe is not for the temperature weenie! It is hot-say-tot-say!

[1]. Conis, Elena. All Fibers May Not Be Created Equal. The Los Angeles Times. January 11, 2010.

Question: Have you heard of inulin before? Do you know of any research in support of isolated or functional fibers ability to lower cholesterol?

And on a lighter note…do you watch The Bachelor? Team Jake or Team No-way Mr. Perfect?

Giveaway over at Eat Move Love — a Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook!

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33 Comments

  1. lessonstolearn
    January 12, 2010 / 7:33 am

    I love your pictures of your dishes….everything looks so good and this dish is no exception!

    I am always interested in reading more about fiber. I have IBS, so fiber intake is really important…I need enough, but it has to be the right kind, and it can’t bee too much! So complicated!

    I thought inulin was something plants naturally make (as well as something we use in processed foods). I thought I remembered that from biology, but I may be wrong. I haven’t minded this form of fiber too much because it is soluble fiber, which is easier on my stomach, and its a prebiotic. All that being said, I think your point is a really good one…..just because a box touts a particular claim, doesn’t mean that it is from a natural source.

  2. lessonstolearn
    January 12, 2010 / 7:34 am

    Oh! And by the way, I got completely sucked into the Bachelor. I like him. But the girls scare me a bit!

  3. January 12, 2010 / 7:52 am

    Hey there! I consider my tolerance for spicy food pretty high, and I’m quite impressed that you used a whole can of chipotle peppers in a single recipe! I generally use 1-2. But you remind me of a funny story. My friend once made a crockpot-pulled-pork-for-tacos recipe, and she used TWO whole cans of chipotle peppers. She had some guests over, and no one but her spice-loving husband could manage to eat it – although he actually enjoyed it. As it turns out, she was supposed to use two peppers, not two cans.

  4. January 12, 2010 / 7:57 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more about fiber! So many fake foods boosted with “other” stuff 🙂

  5. January 12, 2010 / 8:03 am

    It was so ironic yesterday when I read the article you were referring to. The night before I had been trying to explain to my mother that the “fiber” in her jam wasn’t really fiber at all. I knew what I was talking about, yet I couldn’t figure out how to explain it to her. To me, that meant I wasn’t exactly 100% sure about WHY it’s not fiber and WHAT exactly these non-fiber compounds are! I was so happy to see that article from ADA the next day!

    This recipe looks so good. You are doing a great job of keeping up with your new recipes each week!

  6. January 12, 2010 / 8:12 am

    I find that those “fake” fibers REALLY make my stomach hurt. I’ve had many a stomach pain after the fiber one bars, in particular. Sucks, because they’re pretty tasty 🙂

  7. January 12, 2010 / 8:21 am

    Um….I will not tell you in detail what happened the day after I had THREE (!) Fiber One bars – let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty! 😉 I used to buy them religiously, but now I’ll only have one every so often (my parents keep a stash – and boy, they do taste good!).

    I’ve never heard of inulin – that is interesting! I’m kind of hooked on Larabars now, especially because they are pure. My tummy thanks me. 🙂

    My girl friends and I get together every week to watch the Bach! I canNOT get into him. He is the total “package,” but not goofy enough for me. 😉 He does seem sweet, though. But those girls?! Dang! I’d be scared to go on the show just because of the other girls.

  8. eaternotarunner
    January 12, 2010 / 8:25 am

    That is the reason I don’t eat the fiber one products! They do not agree with me and are not the same thing as eating real food 🙂

  9. January 12, 2010 / 9:23 am

    The recipe sounds great! I LOVE spicy food! 🙂

    I really like getting nutrients in their natural stage. I always found it kind of strange to eat yogurt (for instance) with fiber versus just focusing on eating lots of fruits, veggies and legumes to get your fiber…

  10. January 12, 2010 / 9:30 am

    i havent tried using cranberry sauce to my dishes before,surely sounds very interesting and nice…

  11. January 12, 2010 / 10:18 am

    It’s true that it’s best to get fiber from whole sources. Whole sources don’t usually advertise that they have fiber, so you’ll usually know when you’re getting fiber from an unnaturally occuring source. They add fiber to everything these days, like yogurt and even water!

  12. January 12, 2010 / 11:07 am

    Thanks for the info. I have patients a lot of times that think they can load up on fiber one bars, fiber yogurt, etc. and be good..but they don’t eat any fruits and vegetables.
    I actually watched the Bachelor last night and thought of you. Such drama!

  13. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    January 12, 2010 / 11:16 am

    oh boy, i was definitely sippin the kool aid on the whole fiber craze for a while…i mean it seems so appealing, you eat these magical foods that keep you super full for so long, ta-da you lose weight! except it’s not that simple, or that healthy, IMHO. fiber one and things with added fiber are sort of frankenfoods, you know? i had to write a mini paper on inulin (ok i PICKED inulin as my topic, haha) but the only things i remember are: it causes a lot of people to have major, um, gas issues, that it’s indigestible so it doesn’t get broken down into monosaccharides so it doesn’t really affect blood sugar (diabetic friendly.) but it’s kind of controversial, it can cause stomach issues esp when consumed in large quantities. personally, i always aim to get my fiber from natural sources, and the HFCS in fiber one is a huge turn off anyway. plus the whole gas factor is a deterrent too lol

  14. January 12, 2010 / 11:20 am

    Thanks for another great recipe. Awesome stuff. I love my food spicy and chipotle peppers is one of my favorite ways to spice things up!! Cant beat the smokey heat=) Love the flavor combination in this dish. Thanks! Great topic about fiber too. I get an obscene amount of fiber I think. Whether thats good or bad Im not sure. But I eat very fiberous. I have heard of inulin but Im not entirely sure what it contributes too. (Id sure love to find out though!) Have a great day!!

  15. January 12, 2010 / 11:38 am

    You seem to be an amazing chef! Do you feel like you have more time to cook with 3 full days off each week?

    Also, the fiber one bar information was very helpful! my mom eats them all the time thinking they are “healthy” because of the fiber. I’m going to point out to her that none of that fiber comes from a natural source and hope she changes her mind about eating them !

  16. January 12, 2010 / 11:51 am

    Great info on fiber. I personally did not like the taste of the fiber one bars at all.

  17. January 12, 2010 / 12:11 pm

    great recipe and information!! the fiber one bars are ALRIGHT.. i feel like i already get enough by fruits and veggies!

  18. January 12, 2010 / 12:35 pm

    That recipe looks great and I love spicy. Love the blog.

  19. January 12, 2010 / 12:36 pm

    Great info on fiber! And you’re so right, the sources we choose to get our fiber from are maybe just as important as getting enough fiber! This chicken recipe looks so good! It might be a little hot for me, but I could probably use half a can of the chilies. For hubby on the other hand, the hotter, the better! 🙂

  20. January 12, 2010 / 12:46 pm

    Yums that chicken looks really good! My sister got a Crockpot for christmas and I want to steal it.

    Nope I don’t watch the Bachelor…I rather watch Rock of Love hahahaha

  21. January 12, 2010 / 12:47 pm

    I am so with you on the fiber front. HFCS does NOT cancel out lots of fiber. Just eat fruits and veggies. They taste better and have so many other nutrients in them!

    That crockpot chicken dish looks amazing by the way. As soon as I saw cranberry and crockpot – I was sold.

  22. January 12, 2010 / 2:46 pm

    That chicken looks really good – Ive been looking for crock pot recipes. Thats a LOT of chipotles in it, holy! I think I can take it though.

  23. January 12, 2010 / 4:03 pm

    Very interesting about the Fiber One bars!
    I told myself I wasn’t going to watch The Bachelor this season, but I saw last night’s episode. I am still on the fence on what team I’m on!

  24. January 12, 2010 / 4:14 pm

    I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have a fiber one bar addiction. I eat one almost every day!! But it’s my one vice of the day, so I don’t feel too bad. I feel like as long as I get my fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. in, one little treat isn’t so bad.

    That crockpot recipe looks wonderful!! So creative!! 🙂

  25. January 12, 2010 / 5:31 pm

    oh wow, I never knew that about fiber! thanks for the great info!

  26. January 12, 2010 / 7:52 pm

    I had no idea that the fiber in fiber one bars what different than natural fiber. I used to eat those all the time…and I hate to admit this…I even ate the fiber one pop tarts.

  27. January 12, 2010 / 8:08 pm

    Thanks for the info on Fiber! I used to love FiberOne bars but am sort of over them. I’m trying to get more fiber from natural sources… usually not a problem for me as I eat a lot of beans and veggies!

  28. January 12, 2010 / 8:20 pm

    What is with all the crazies on The Bachelor??? As always dinner looks good at your house. After a long day I had a quick wheat pizza…

  29. January 12, 2010 / 8:51 pm

    naturally occuring fiber! thats what I am all about…that crockpot recipe looks SO GOOD!! can I come over for dinner? I love jake but I feel bad about teh choice of gals thus far…not to impressed!

  30. January 12, 2010 / 8:52 pm

    I don’t like added fiber products, either…all they do is bloat me up! I agree that natural fiber is the best, and it’s just different quality!

    What about calcium though? And other supplements?

  31. January 13, 2010 / 12:24 am

    This looks really tasty! I just got a crock pot for Christmas so this will definitely make its way onto the “to try list” (How sad is it that I honestly have a list entitled that? Hah).

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