I just saw that Pepsi is releasing a new version of their soft drink in Japan with fiber. I nearly gagged. What is with the food industry adding fiber to all these random foods?!
In the U.S., you can find fiber added to yogurt, ice cream, juice, cookies, and other foods that never had fiber in the first place! Don’t be fooled by your box of sugar cereal proclaiming “Good Source of Fiber!” on the front. These foods contain what I like to call “fake fiber.”
Fiber is in general good, but not all fibers are created equal. Real, naturally-occurring fiber in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can help you lose weight, control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and maintain bowel health. But the food industry likes to cash in on trends, so it removed fiber from grains and isolated them, turning them into powders to add to packaged foods.
These isolated fibers have no proven health benefits. What’s worse is they can cause digestive discomfort in many people. When you consume fiber in its natural state, there are other components of the food to help you digest it. Isolated fibers by themselves can cause stomach cramping, gas, and bloating. I can’t tell you how many patients, friends, and family members I’ve counseled to remove these products from their diet, only to have them report back, “My stomach feels so much better!”
To spot fake fiber, look for these ingredients on the food label:
Also, be skeptical about packaging hype. Ignore fiber claims like “Double Fiber,” “High Fiber,” or “Extra Fiber.”
Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber a day from real, whole foods. A bowl of oatmeal, a sandwich on whole grain bread, some nuts, and a few servings of fruits and vegetables will easily get you on your way – no fake fiber needed!
-Posted by Nicole Holovach, RD