Dietary Fibre – Are you getting enough?

February 27, 2012 BY: LISA

There are three types of fibre and you need them all to get them into your day:

Insoluble fibre: keeps you regular and help to eliminate toxins which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. These are found in high fibre cereal and grain products, brown rice and pasta, millet, quinoa, wholemeal and rye breads – so if you are following a low carb or high protein diet, or eating gluten free then chances are you are not getting enough of this type of fibre.

Soluble fibre: slows down digestion which also results in lower blood glucose levels after eating. It also helps create a feeling of
fullness which helps delay hunger. Soluble fibre also plays a role in decreasing cholesterol levels and softening your stool. Soluble fibre is found in legumes, oats, barley, nuts, seeds, psyllium husks, fruit and vegetables.

Resistant starch: encourages growth of beneficial bacteria in the bowel and keeps the cells in the wall of the large bowel healthy.
Sources of resistant starch are cooled cooked potato, rice and pasta, firm bananas and legumes.

Are you getting enough of the right types of fibre?

Take this quiz and find out if you need to increase your fibre intake:

1.  Are you following a specific type of diet? Low carb, wheat-free, or gluten free?

2.  How often do you eat a serve of wholegrain bread (2 slices) such as wholegrain, wholemeal or rye and a serve of brown rice or pasta (1 cup)?

a. Never

b. 3-4 times per week

c. 2 or more serves per day

3. How often do you eat a serve of high fibre breakfast cereal? Eg wholegrain flake biscuits, muesli, bran flakes etc?

a. Never

b. 3-4 times per week

c. 1 or more serves per day

4. Do you have at least 2 serves of fresh fruit (unpeeled) and at least 5 serves (=21/2 cups) of vegetables per day?

a. Never

b. 3-4 times per week

c. Everyday

5. Do you include 1 serve (1/2 cup) of legumes (eg baked beans, lentils, and chickpeas), barley, rye, bread or potato salad in
your diet?

a. Never

b. 3-4 times a week

c. Everyday


Answered “Yes’ to Q1? Your total fibre intake is probably low.

Mainly a’s? Your total intake and mix of fibre is likely to be low. Aim to increase your fibre intake form a variety of sources and each of the three groups.

Mainly b’s? You’re on the right track to eating enough total and types of fibre. Aim to include a good variety of high fibre foods in your diet.

Mainly c’s? You’re a “fibre star” You should be getting enough total fibre and mix of fibre in your diet.



How to increase your fibre:

  • Switch to a higher fibre breakfast cereal and bread eg take wholemeal or wholegrain or rye bread.
  • Ensure you are getting your 2 fruit and 5 vegetables each day.
  • Aim to add ½ cup of legumes to your meals at least twice a week.
  • Try brown rice and pasta

The trick is to do this gradually, because if you increase your fibre intake too rapidly you will get some abdominal reactions. Aim to increase your fibre intake over weeks not days and ensure that you are getting plenty of water as this is important to keep you regular particularly if you are increasing your fibre intake. Aim for 6-8 glasses per day.

What’s normal?

One to two bowel movements per day to one every three to four days is considered normal. When it comes to poo size matters, as it indicates the level of fibre in your diet – small stool means low fibre.

When it comes to flatulence: the average emissions per day is 12 for men and 7 for women but can vary between 2 and 30. Another good reason to increase your fibre intake slowly!

Lisa Renn

Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)


All enquiries, Lisa 0413 956 107 Appointments 1300 725 806
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