Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reason #32: Fiber Junkie

Lately I have been chowing down on Gnu Bars as my mid-day afternoon snack. I am not going to lie, the “Chocolate Brownie” and “Peanut Butter” flavors have been enticing me more than the bar’s claim of having 50% of daily value of fiber, but this is just an added bonus, right? The bars even clearly mark on their label “12g Fiber for Regularity and Heart Health.” Well, after the third day of eating the bars, I have noticed that I have been experiencing this weird whooshy feeling in my stomach. The feeling isn’t painful, but it isn’t comfortable either…especially on the treadmill. After crossing off the possibility of the bar actually expanding into the size of a bowling ball in my stomach, I questioned, “Could I be eating too much fiber?”

My mom always warns me that I may be overdoing it in the fiber department. Stop eating those Kashi bars, Gillian! Gosh, you think they were a drug. She has a point though. Twice I have gone to the hospital for intense abdominal pain which I swore was appendicitis. But nope, the doctor each time delivered the news (with a straight face) that I just had some excessive gas, but I was otherwise as healthy as a horse. Gah, so embarrassing. (Disclaimer: If you are a Doctor in a hospital delivering the diagnosis of excessive gas, please just laugh and point at a finger at me next time.) Fiber is jam-packed with health benefits though. It prevents constipation and hemorrhoids, may lower risk of colon and rectal cancer, and helps lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. After doing some research, it is recommended to consume 20-35 grams of fiber daily or 14g of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat. So I decided to log my food intake for a day to count the grams of fiber I consume. I have always been too lazy to do so in the past, but I used the tool DailyPlate to help me figure it out. Let’s see if my Mom is right, so here it goes:

1c of Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal – 5g
¼ c of Dates -3g
1c of Unsweetened Almond Milk – 1g
Small Banana – 3g
¼ c of Walnuts – 2g
Total Fiber at Breakfast: 14g

2 c of Spinach – 2g
½ c of Chickpeas – 5g
1/4c Cranberries – 1g
1/6c of Almonds – 2g
1/2c of Carrots – 2g
Pear – 5g
Total Fiber at Lunch: 17g

Gnu Bar – 12g
Total Fiber at Snack: 12g

Homemade Black Bean Burger – 9g
English Muffin -8g
¼ Avocado -1g
PopChips and Laughing Cow Cheese -1g
Total Fiber at Dinner: 19g


Yikes, 62 grams of fiber is way over the recommended amount of 20-35g. Im surprised my stomach hasn’t expanded further, and I haven’t floated away as the next Goodyear Blimp. Declaring myself a fiber junkie, I searched the internet for further information. Apparently, an overdose of soluble fiber can cause “general discomfort.” However, other negative effects include a reduced absorption of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and calories from the gut. Therefore, Im going to take a break from the Gnu bars, apparently the 12g increase in fiber was too much for my body. I also need to balance my diet out more and drink more water. I guess what they say is true: moderation is key, yes, you can have too much of a good thing, and mother knows best : )

1 comment:

  1. I have stomach problems and fiber makes it all MUCH wore (had to go to the ER not for excessive gas but for something even more embarassing as a result of it) and try to have as little fiber as possible every day. I try to avoid snacks thatr have more than 1 or 2 grams at most, and it is hard to be healthy this way!

    I have a hard time on the treadmill the same way.

    My advice -- enjoy your healthy foods, but try to limit amount of fiber in a day just a little bit