What the F!
By now I reckon you’ve heard that the F word (fibre) is pretty important. Fibre moves waste through your digestive system, feeds your resident gut bacteria & protects against bowel cancer, to name a few benefits.
In the UK, the recommendation is that adults aim for 30 grams of fibre a day (providing you don’t have a gut condition like IBS).
The question is, can you reach this 30g target simply by eating lots of fruit and veg?
In short, probably not. In fact, research from the British Nutrition Foundation found that on average, eating 5 A DAY (2 fruit + 3 veg) amounted to a total of just 9.8 grams of fibre, only a third of the daily 30 gram target (note, 70% of UK adults don’t eat this much).
Now this obviously depends on a few things – how big your fruit and veggie portions are (they worked on 80g servings, the standard portion size) + also what fruit and veggies you choose, because there’s a wide variation in the fibre content of fruit and veg.
For example, per 80 gram portion, tinned tomatoes will give you a measly 0.6 grams of fibre, where as peas (fibre heroes) will give you 4.5 grams.
In fact, their research showed that order to get the recommended 30 gram of fibre (plus stay within targets for free sugars + fats), you’d need to eat around 8 serves of fruit and veg, plus a wholegrain at each meal, plus fibre rich snacks of seeds, nuts + dried fruit + have a regular intake of pulses (which are a brilliant fibre source).
Now, in my experience, carbs / wholegrains are often given a wide berth due to the popularity of low carb diets and concerns around weight gain, gluten and bloating to name a few, which is a shame because as well as these being unfounded, much of the research into the benefit of fibre is related to wholegrain intake.
So… the message is that relying on fruit + veg unlikely to give you enough fibre, and will likely not bring the same benefits as including wholegrains and other fibre sources. Time to get back into bed with those carbs.