In my last post I talked about my 7 daily habits for bowel regularity to prevent and manage constipation. And I also shared my favorite fiber, for anyone who can’t seem to get enough in daily foods. Konsyl is a brand I use that offers psyllium husk fiber with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. (FYI since there isn’t anything to make it taste good, you will prob need to mix it with some juice or other flavored beverage and follow it with 2 big glasses of water!)
I talked about the tips on Facebook Live last Friday, which you can watch here.
Here’s the thing. I think a lot of people don’t realize that you don’t need a magic bullet for fiber intake. In fact… you’re better off to increase your fiber a little at a time, and also spread it out throughout the day. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious foods that are good sources of fiber. The secret is finding the ones you enjoy and eating them regularly!
If you’re thinking you need to increase fiber, I do have some suggestions on changes to maximize fiber intake. It doesn’t have to be complicated! But you might need to do a food record to identify where you can make a positive change.
Here’s an example of some simple substitutions that will enhance the nutrition profile of your day and increase fiber to the recommended level.
These changes make a BIG difference!
- The total for the foods on the right is 3.9g of fiber. Yikes!
- The total for the list on the left is 31.6!
When dietitians recommend to eat less processed food, it’s focused on reducing intake of the foods where the naturally occurring nutrients are removed in the process. In that process, fiber is often removed.
The type of processed food that would be considered healthy is the kind where nutrients are still in tact! Examples would be frozen or prepped fruits and veggies, or canned beans. All fiber and other nutrients are still present!
Is More Fiber ALWAYS Better?
No. More fiber isn’t always better. There are some foods that do not have fiber in them naturally. Things like meat and dairy products do not have fiber. If you are looking at the nutrition facts label and a dairy product has fiber, then it has been artificially added. This is no bad per say, but added fiber is not my preferred way for clients to meet the fiber recommendations.
If you’re having yogurt, you don’t need fiber in the yogurt. Just add some fruit and nuts or granola and you’ll have a delicious source of fiber!
Also – if you currently consume mainly low fiber foods, and you’re wanting to increase the fiber… please do it slowly! I have a funny story about a friend who switched from a big bowl of corn flakes to a big bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch. I think that’s a great cereal choice, but he certainly paid the price for a large increase in fiber over a short period of time.
Remember that your body needs time to adjust to a new higher fiber intake!
What About Red & Processed Meat?
For bowel health and colon cancer risk reduction, the American Institute for Cancer Research has reviewed a LOT of studies looking at red and processed meats, and cancer risk. Read their info here.
Use common sense when it comes to meat intake. Current research shows the following guidelines regarding red and processed meat will lower risk for colon cancer:
- Consume 18oz. or less of red meat each week (red meat is beef, pork and lamb).
- Limit meats processed with nitrates and that have a lot of sodium added.
Basically, we don’t have a level that we consider “risk free” for processed meats. It doesn’t mean you should never have them, but you will likely want to have it on a more occasional basis. Read more on my post here: Do Bacon, Hot Dogs and Red Meat Cause Cancer? Facts and What You Need to Know!
Do I Need a Detox?
Detox diets have little scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. Juice cleanses and colonic treatments aren’t healthy, nor necessary, and do not “detox” your colon or your body.
However, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there is scientific consensus that we can cut our risk for colon cancer by 50% with a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, moving more every day, consuming a fiber-rich diet, limiting red and processed meats, and avoiding alcohol.
Usually, someone giving recommendations to detox or a colon cleanse are selling a product, and they don’t have any scientific basis for their recommendations. The only colon cleanse I recommend is the one that comes right before your colonoscopy!
Let me know if you have questions!
PS – Did you know that Cancer Dietitian is ELEVEN years old now? My first post was 11/12/2007. I can’t believe that it’s been so long! Consider saying “Happy Birthday” and “THANK YOU” by giving a tax-deductible donation to Cancer Services. It would mean a lot to me, and to our cancer clients who get a helping hand to avoid bankruptcy because of generous donors.
I am eternally grateful for a supportive workplace that has incorporated the website into our survivorship programming. What an amazing resource available to any/all at no charge! Cancer Services is a non-profit that provides financial assistance, physical and emotional support in Winston-Salem, NC.
Did you know that most blogs make money through sponsored articles, advertisements and other marketing opportunities. I am able to stay true to my content because of Cancer Services. Cancer Services has earned a platinum seal of transparency on GuideStar!!
Other ways you can help:
- Buy my NEWLY released educational handouts! (Email me for a discount code if you want to buy all 5)
- Support our Amazon Store – Books, Kitchen Tools, and Foods