Low Carb High Fiber Diet

How important is it to follow a low carb high fiber diet?  Is it even possible to follow this type of diet? Afterall, if you lower the carbohydrates in your diet doesn’t that mean that the fiber is automatically cut way down as well? If so, how can you possibly get all the fiber you need on a low carb diet? Well, I thought you’d never ask!

You know, I wondered about that too. Because, before I went low carb I’d start my day with whole wheat toast or a granola-type cereal topped with fiber buds. Otherwise, how could I “go” regularly? Surely without a lot of fiber I’d be bunged up.  But that all changed.

A New Perspective

Did you ever wonder if maybe fiber is a bit overrated? I don’t mean that fiber is bad for us, but do we really need as much as we’re being told we need? Just look at those fiber commercials on TV. You’d swear there was a constipation epidemic going on!  Is that really true?

Toot! Toot!

When you eat a low carb diet you take in a lot less fiber because wheat and grains are pretty much eliminated. But you’re still getting plenty of fiber from all the vegetables you do eat.

When you stop eating wheat and grains something else stops too.  Gas!  That’s right…you don’t get quite so gassy and bloated. And since those types of foods are not essential for optimal health, you’re not missing out on anything important, fiber included. 

The issue is this… it’s very difficult to follow a low carb high fiber diet. The two just don’t go hand in hand. That’s because foods high in fiber are typically very high in carbs as well.

What About Fruit and Vegetables?

Vegetables and fruit do have fiber, and they also have valuable nutrients. So, win-win!  It’s almost like having your cake and eating it too! 😊 Leafy greens and most vegetables grown above ground fit perfectly with a low carb diet.  Even berries can be included in a low carb diet.

The abrasive nature of grains and high fiber food can cause digestive distress in some people. Those foods are best left to our bovine ruminant friend, the cow. The cow’s digestive system is very different from ours and is built to handle all that fibrous food. We’re not.

Here are some low carb foods that provide ample fiber.  They include berries, spinach, kale, lettuces, asparagus, avocados, broccoli… you get the idea.  And did you notice?  They’re all harvested above ground.

Fiber Deficiency

Do you need to worry about becoming deficient in fiber. No, you do not.  Fiber is not an essential nutrient. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says: “Although fiber is derived from one of the macronutrients, the absence of a deficiency state prevents it from being considered an essential nutrient.” You can read the whole article by Jill Balla Kohn, MS, RDN, LDN by clicking here.

To Each His (or Her) Own

Is there room for fiber on a low carb diet? Of course, there is! I’m not against a low carb high fiber diet. Some people do very well on a high fiber diet. But fiber is usually delivered by high carb foods. Think of whole grains, bread, breakfast cereals, corn, potatoes, and many others… all are high in fiber, but also have a lot of carbs. But if your fiber comes from leafy greens and berries, then the carb load is much lower and you’re still getting fiber in your diet.

Some people can handle more fiber than others. I, for one don’t do well at all on a high fiber diet. I can get away with salads and some cooked veggies. But if I eat a sweet potato or Brussels sprouts, I'm cramped up and gassy for hours afterwards. And that’s too bad because I love those veggies. Sadly, the love is not given in return!

Temporary Changes

Here’s what you can expect when you make a big shift in your diet. You'll have changes in your bowel routine. Don’t be concerned.  It’s temporary.

Everyone has their own experience with this.  Maybe you won’t “go” as often, or maybe you'll have to “go” more than before. You may even believe you have Montezuma’s revenge! But don’t worry about it. Everything will get back in balance in a few days.

Believe it or not… just because you’ve been going everyday like clockwork on your old diet, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve had healthy digestion. It just means there’s a lot of stuff in there that wasn’t absorbed. Yup…there’s a lot of waste. But when your gut absorbs nutrient-rich, low carb food, there’s very little waste. So, you may not go as often and when you do go, there’s not as much to get rid of.

Here’s something to think about.  If you’re used to eating a lot of processed food or you eat fast food regularly, you're not getting much fiber.  So, it’s likely that you'll be consuming way more fiber on a low carb diet than you ever did!!

The Fiber Menace

In his book, Fiber Menace, Konstantin Monastyrsky discusses the role of fiber and how it contributes to irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, constipation, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer and Crohn’s disease. I didn’t love the book, but it’s worth a read to understand the mechanics of our digestive system and the role fiber plays in our gut health.

Focus On Your Goals

Let’s keep things simple and in focus.  Keep your eye on your weight loss goal rather than the fiber. You can’t have a high fiber low carb diet and successfully lose weight. That’s because high fiber is found in carbohydrate-rich foods.  And those foods raise blood sugar which leads to weight gain. That’s a simple fact.

But you can still get all the fiber you need from foods that are much lower in carbs.  I've provided information on this site on low carb diet foods. I've even provided a shopping list!  Pop over and check it out by clicking here.

Still Have Concerns?

It would be perfectly normal if you had concerns about changing your diet.  If you have any pre-existing health conditions check in with your health care practitioner. He or she knows you best and can guide you. Any changes in your lifestyle and the way you eat can affect your health. It can also change your dosage requirements for medications.  So, check with your health care professional. 

Wrapping Up The Low Carb High Fiber Diet

So, can a low carb high fiber diet work? It doesn’t work for me, but it doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. If you believe you need extra fiber, try combining high fiber with low carb foods and see for yourself. If you’re losing weight, feeling awesome and reaching your health goals, then keep doing what’s working for you! Explore and experiment.  Have fun.  You will have to ditch some foods you like if they don’t fit your low carb lifestyle.  But you can find new foods that do fit and that you'll enjoy just as much. 

It comes down to this.  Life is to be enjoyed.  A diet should not make you either miserable or unhappy.  If it does you won't stay with it so what’s the point?  I don’t even think of Low Carb as a diet.  I think of it as a lifestyle… because it is. 

With low carb and low fiber, I feel great, have lots of energy, am healthy and I rarely, if ever, feel hungry.  That’s a lifestyle that’s easy to maintain.  You can do this too.

If you feel you could use some one-on-one coaching and guidance, I'm here to help. Here's a link to my services page.

Return to the Low Carb Diet page.

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