Can You Get Enough Fiber on a Low Carb Diet?

Two different conditions with two conflicting dietary prescriptions. Nutrition Diva helps make sense of seemingly contradictory advice.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #419

How to Get Enough Fiber on a Low Carb Diet

Now let’s take a look at the dietary recommendations for high cholesterol and/or fatty liver disease. Both of these conditions benefit from a diet that is higher in fiber. A good goal is 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

Soluble fiber, in particular, reduces the amount of fat and cholesterol that is absorbed from foods and processed by the liver. Sure enough, eating foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as oats and legumes, can help lower your LDL cholesterol levels--but this may not all be due to the fiber!

These foods also happen to contain phytosterols, which I just talked about in a recent podcast on corn oil. As you may recall, phytosterols are plant compounds that work to block absorption of cholesterol from foods by occupying the cellular parking spots where cholesterol would normally park.  This article on phytosterols includes a chart that lists the phytosterol content of many foods.

The good news is that you can get all the fiber you need without overloading on carbs. A bowl of high fiber cereal for breakfast, a cup of black bean soup for lunch, some fresh fruits and vegetables along the way, and you’re there. Although whole grain breads have more fiber than their white flour counterparts, they have a somewhat undeserved reputation for being high in fiber. Other foods, such as legumes, bran, avocados, artichokes, broccoli, and berries are even better sources of fiber (and lower in carbs).

Weight Loss Also Helps

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that all of these conditions (PCOS, fatty liver, and high cholesterol) generally improve when you lose weight.  Any diet that helps you shed excess pounds should help, even if it’s not particularly low in carbohydrates or high in fiber. As it happens however, the low-glycemic, moderate-carb diet we’ve just outlined is also great for weight loss, because low- to-moderate glycemic  foods help quell your appetite.

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.