“Eat more fibre” - three words we've all heard in media, from the doctor, and from nutrition experts giving out professional dietary advice. But when you are on a low carb or ketogenic diet, they are not exactly the three words you long to hear. Why? Because fibre appears, in general, in foods which are higher in carbohydrates, making such diets harder than usual to make sure you get your fibre fix. That said, there are ways and means of getting enough fibre whilst keeping your carbs to a minimum, so fear not.
Ok, so how much fibre do we actually need?
According to UK Government guidelines (published in 2015), our dietary fibre intake should increase to 30g a day, as part of an adequately balanced diet. The NHS report claimed that the average adult only eats around 18g per day, just over half of the recommended amount - and this is before we take into account those on a low carb or keto diet, where of course, it’s even harder.
One very interesting fact about fibre is that it’s one of the few things you can’t digest. Fibre actually stays intact as it moves through your digestive system, taking with it harmful bacteria, toxins and impurities as it goes. It’s an important part of your diet which can be unintentionally neglected when restricting your carbohydrate intake.
According to Dr Michael Ruscio, who specialises in digestion and gut health, people on a low carb diet may benefit from a diet high in fibre to promote microbial diversity and improve insulin sensitivity.
Fibre & low-carb dieting
It’s likely that a low carb or ketogenic diet is brought on by a desire to lose weight, and fibre plays a really important role in this. Not only does it help to maintain your energy levels, it helps regulate your blood sugar, managing your digestion and even controlling your hunger. Fibre in short makes you feel fuller for longer.
Although fibre is carbohydrate, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar like other carbs, simply owing to the fact that it doesn’t turn in into glucose. Fibre is not broken down by the body at all, so this in turn slows the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream. You’ll feel quite full for an extended length of time, which tackles a whole world of other weight loss related issues such as food cravings, overeating and binge-eating. There are a lot of foods out there which not everyone knows are high in fibre whilst also being low in carbs. We've rounded up five of the main suggestions that are easy to find in the shops, and are easy to implement into your daily diet.
Probably one of the most flavoursome green vegetables around and also one of the best ones for you. One cup of steamed broccoli contains approximately 5.1 grams of fibre, making it one of the best power foods for a fibre intake, especially when watching the carbs. Interestingly, raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs and 3% protein, with almost no fat, so it's little wonder it's thought of so highly as a super food. Try steaming broccoli to lock in the nutrients whilst getting a lovely, soft, delicious texture.
You can top up your fibre by snacking, and a quick handful of nuts is a superb way of doing this. Even a small handful of nuts can have up to 3g of fibre. It's important to ensure that you are selective about which ones you eat, as some nuts come covered in salt and added sugars. Nice, natural nuts, although high in fat (this is absolutely fine on a low-carb diet) can be a desktop snack at work, a quick snack before the gym or added to your cooking, such as a stir fry or curry.
Cabbage is known for it's high fibre content, and makes for a great addition to your home cooked meals, including salads, stews and even roast dinners if you so wished. Cabbage or headed cabbage is a leafy green, red, or white biennial plant which happens to be really tasty to eat. Each 1-cup serving of chopped cabbage provides 2.2 grams of fibre.
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are known to be an outstanding source of fibre, as well as being high in other important nutrients. From kale to spinach, green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These vegetables are known to contain and abundance of antioxidants that protect cells and contribute to the prevention of cancer in its early stages. Perhaps one of the most underrated foods out there, and certainly one of the best to add to a great summer salad or smoothie, as well as other more hearty meals.
There are a number of proven health benefits to avocados, and they're popular with people on a low carb diet due to their "good fat" content. A fairly unique fruit in the sense that many other fruits are high in carbs. Avocados are particularly popular food amongst the health and nutrition conscious, but are generally a favourite for a lot of other people too. They make a great soup or addition to salad, as well as the classic smashed avocado dishes out there.
Bonus Fact: Lo-Dough is a high fibre, virtually carb free bread alternative
There's another, new way to make sure you are getting enough fibre on a low carb or keto diet. Since the launch of Lo-Dough in 2017, the fitness and nutrition markets have been exploring the benefits of Lo-Dough as part of a healthier diet. Why? Because it's the ultimate low carb bread (and pastry) alternative, which virtually carb free, allowing us to have pizza, pies, wraps and sandwiches, and much more, all whilst maintaining a low carb of keto diet.
There is nothing like Lo-Dough anywhere in the world. It's high protein, high fibre, gluten-free, and a stunning 39 calories per piece. That's 39 calories for an entire pizza base, if this is what you wish to make. As you can imagine, this has been a big hit in the slimming and fitness world, especially with those on a low carb diet who are looking for an easy way to get a fibre fix.
See the guide on how to use Lo-Dough for more info and inspiration.
How else can Lo-Dough fit in with your low carb diet? Find out here.