A Dietitian’s Advice on Fiber
There are some fibers that may not be that good for you.
Take a walk down almost any aisle in the supermarket, and you’re likely to see the term “Added Fiber” on a lot of packages. Fiber is good, so these products can make you healthier, right?
Maybe not. True, there’s no argument about the general benefits of fiber: it can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and contribute to a feeling of fullness that will make you less likely to eat more food than you need.
But there are different kinds of fiber, and there’s a big difference between them. According to the weight-loss organization TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly), there’s dietary, or intact, fiber (the kind found in naturally existing foods like apples) and added, or isolated, fiber (which is incorporated into manufactured foods). Your total fiber intake is the number of grams of both dietary and added fiber you eat.
These days fiber is being added from everything to ice cream to snack bars, and the labels on the packaging can be confusing. TOPS explains that, for example, a fortified flour tortilla could have close to ten grams of isolated fiber, as opposed to only one gram of intact fiber if no fiber is added.