High-Fiber Cereals: Still a Very Smart Health Move

Fiber has an image problem. It’s not trendy like omega-3 fats or phytonutrients. Chances are, unless you?re irregular, you don’t even think about it. You should. Most Americans get only about 15 grams of dietary fiber a day?not even close to the recommended 25 and 38 grams for women and men, respectively, up to age 50. After age 50, men should strive for 30 grams a day, women for 21 grams daily.

To get that much fiber, a daily bowl of high-fiber cereal is almost a must. While most of the cereals we found deliver between 5 and 10 grams per serving, a few boast up to 14 grams per bowl?enough to make a significant contribution to your daily fiber tally.

What about conflicting headlines? Despite a recent negative study, there’s widespread consensus among researchers that getting plenty of fiber, especially from whole grains, is still a worthwhile goal. Why? Although the jury is still out on a colon cancer connection, fiber helps fight heart disease and diabetes. It also benefits blood pressure maintenance, stroke prevention, diverticulosis prevention and can even help dieters feel full with less food. And you get important phytonutrients to boot. In fact, several studies point to high-fiber, whole-grain breakfast cereals, in particular, as protective.

What’s not to like?

High-Fiber Highlights

  • Be aware of serving sizes when selecting a cereal. Some, like granola, are concentrated, so it takes less to get the amount of fiber (and calories) listed on the label.

  • If you?re watching your sugar consumption, stick to the basics. The more clusters, yogurt bites and dried fruit added to a cereal, the higher the sugar content?and calories.

  • Boost your nutrition with skim milk and a handful of berries or sliced fruit to perk up the flavor. Berries also add lots more fiber.

  • For snacks, top a low-fat yogurt with a handful of high-fiber cereal.

  • Bake with high-fiber cereals. Check out packages and manufacturer websites for recipes.

  • If you?re new to the high-fiber life, take it slow. Your taste buds may take some time to adjust, as will your gastrointestinal tract. Try mixing a high-fiber cereal with your favorite lower fiber brand, gradually upping the high-fiber proportions. And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids, so all that fiber will move through you and not just plug you up.


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