September 01, 2019

Can I still get enough fiber on gluten free diet?

Q: My doctor is recommending a trial of a gluten-free diet to see if my digestive symptoms improve. Can I still get enough fiber without eating bread and bran flakes?

A: Yes you can, and that's important because fiber has several health benefits. Fiber is best known for preventing and relieving constipation by helping to bulk up and soften stool, making it easier to pass. It may also lower the risk of hemorrhoids, pouches in the colon (diverticulosis) and colon cancer. A high fiber diet may also improve cholesterol levels, control blood sugar and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. In the United States, these grains are a major source of dietary fiber. A switch away from consuming them could eliminate a major source of fiber in your diet. However, there are a wide variety of high-fiber foods — including many grains — that are naturally gluten-free, including:

  • Vegetables and fruits of all types
  • Whole grains that do not contain gluten, such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, popcorn and oats that are labeled gluten-free
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds, preferably raw or roasted with minimal salt
Daily fiber recommendations ...