The ketogenic diet is still one of the most popular dieting trends across the United States without showing any sign of slowing down. However, as effective as this diet is for weight-loss, cutting back on carbohydrates can great a gap in your nutrition, one being your fiber intake.
Constipation is also a common challenge that plagues many people who follow a keto diet routine due to lack of fiber in their meal plan. Not eating sufficient amounts of fiber can result in fewer bowel movements, therefore making you think twice about whether or not the keto diet is worth the effort.
To help avoid these challenges and help you reduce fiber deficiency, we will be looking at how to get enough fiber on a keto diet by sharing some of the best food sources for fiber, how much you should be taking, and the benefits.
Let’s get started!
What Is Dietary Fiber? Understanding The Basics
Dietary fiber is a term that describes indigestible plant fibers such as carbohydrates and lignins that are mostly found in plant-based foods. Most of the fiber that we consume comes from the plant walls, which are essential to maintaining their structure and shape.
Consumable fiber can be divided into two types: soluble and insoluble fiber. Let’s take a look at the differences between both these types of fiber to understand their differences.
Soluble fiber, when mixed in water, turns into a gel-like substance. Natural bacteria in your gut and colon ferment soluble fiber into byproducts at a slow rate which adds bulk to your stool, therefore helping you feel more full for longer periods of time.
Sufficient sources of soluble fiber can be found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
Unlike soluble fiber, Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and moves through your digestive system without changing form. As it passes through your intestines and colon, it will absorb water. It also helps to ease bowel movements, therefore eliminating digestion problems such as constipation.
Sufficient sources of insoluble fiber can be found in foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, fruit-skin, grapes, tomatoes, and some vegetables.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Dietary Fiber?
Many people who are on their ketogenic journey don’t give enough thought to the importance of fiber. Below, we listed some key benefits of dietary fiber and why you should consider including it into your diet.
Can Improve Overall Gut Health
Our intestines contain millions of living bacteria that are essential to maintaining a healthy gut. Research has shown that these tiny organisms play an important role in helping to lower systemic inflammation which is linked to diabetes, obesity and other chronic health complications.
Helps You Lose Weight
Consuming sufficient amounts of soluble fiber can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite, therefore causing you to eat fewer calories throughout the day. It also helps to lower your blood sugar and change the composition of gastrointestinal microbiota which is linked to obesity. (source)
Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Dietary fiber (particularly soluble fiber) can help people with type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels.
Studies conducted by the World Health Organization investigated the relationship between a healthy diet and various chronic diseases including diabetes in over 340,000 individuals from 10 European countries. Their finding’s concluded that fiber plays an important role in reducing insulin spiking, therefore lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
According to a meta-analysis completed by the US National Library Of Medicine, consuming high amounts of dietary fiber can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming fiber helps to reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) which is often found in unhealthy fats. This can significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening heart conditions such as heart attack and stroke by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Reduces The Risk Of Certain Types Of Cancers
Eating more fiber may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Some of these can include:
- colon cancer
- endometrial cancer
- ovarian cancer
- breast cancer
- pancreatic cancer
Research also suggests that most of the cancer reducing benefits of fiber come from helping to control blood insulin levels after meals, as well as the production of short-chain fatty acids from gut microbiota.
Conclusions in one study where 15,740 adult participants were followed for 13 years on average, showed that eating at least 18 grams of dietary fiber per day reduced the overall risk of cancer by 24%.
One of the best practices you can do is doing a complete colon cleanse. Adding fiber to colon cleansing supplements can enhance your body’s ability to remove unwanted bacteria, improve gut health, and even help you lose weight!
You can explore our review on the best colon cleanse supplements for weight loss if cleansing your colon is something you are interested in doing.
If you experience constipation, then fiber can often be your best friend.
Constipation occurs when your colon absorbs too much water from the food you eat, which cause digestive contractions to function at a slower rate. This can cause the colon muscles in your colon to slow down, therefore resulting in constipation.
To prevent this, it is recommended that you consume high amounts of insoluble fiber. This can help correct bowel movements and add bulk to your stool, therefore allowing debris to pass through your digestive system faster and easier.
Does Fiber Affect Ketosis?
It all depends on the source in which you get your fiber.
One of the downsides of following a ketogenic diet is that you have to be actively looking for good sources of insoluble fiber. This is the one you want to go for if you want to avoid common digestive problems like constipation.
A challange most people have is finding foods that are high in soluble fiber and low in carbs, which kicking you right out of ketosis. These can include whole foods such as kidney beans, oats, sweet potatoes, lima beans, and avocados.
Instead, you can avoid compromising your ketogenic diet by going for insoluble fiber foods with minimal carbohydrates and which contain healthy fats. We will be looking at 7 reliable sources of soluble fiber for keto in the next section below.
7 Best Foods That Are High In Fiber And Low In Carbs
Now that we understand what kind of fiber is best for your ketogenic diet, here we listed 9 best food sources that are rich in fiber and low in carbs, including their benefits.
1. Chia Seed
Fiber: 10g per 1 Oz
Net carbs: 2g per 1 Oz
Chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of soluble fiber out there. They also provide about 4.4 grams of protein and contain healthy fats that are high in HDL CHolesterol (good cholesterol).
Adding chia seeds is a quick and simple way to add fiber and protein to any meal without having to waste more time preparing your food.
Fiber: 6g for every 2 tbsp
Net Carbs: 0g for every 2 tbsp
Another fantastic food source that you can add quickly to your meal that is rich in fiber and very low in carbs is flaxseed.
According to research, flaxseed helps to reduce blood pressure and can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and are a rich source of Lignans, which have the potential to help reduce the risk of cancer.
3. Raspberries and Blackberries
Fiber: 8-9g per 1 cup
Net Carbs: 6-7g per 1 cup
According to Healthline, berries are among the healthiest foods on earth. Raspberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients which are essential for combating various diseases.
Raspberries and blackberries also help lower cholesterol levels and help to keep your arteries healthy, therefore helping to reduce the risk of heart disease caused by plaque build up along the artery walls.
Fiber: 5g per 1 Oz
Net Carbs: 2g per 1 Oz
Coconuts provide several health benefits and are a fantastic source of soluble fiber and healthy fats. They are also great for improving your immune system and contain antioxidizing properties that help to fight dangerous cells that are harmful to your body.
In addition, coconuts contain anti-aging properties that help reduce wrinkles and help to keep your skin looking youthful.
Fiber: 3g per 1 Oz
Net Carbs: 5g per 1 Oz
Pistachios are another reliable source of soluble fiber. They are loaded with nutrients including magnesium and protein and are packed with antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent common causes of vision loss such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Fiber: 2g per 1 cup
Net Carbs: 3g per 1 cup
Cauliflower is a great substitute for high carb foods such as potatoes and rice. It is rich in vitamin K which supports healthy bones and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure as well as blood clotting.
Fiber: 2.8g fiber per 1 cup
Net Carbs: 2.2g per 1 cup
Asparagus is another superfood that is packed with antioxidant properties. Eating asparagus also helps keep your urinary tract healthy and free of infections by flushing excess fluid and salt from your body.
Another benefit of eating asparagus is it can help reduce bloating, which is a common problem among keto dieters. It contains prebiotics which helps to reduce gas and help flush excess liquid to help combat belly bulge.
Can I Take A Fiber Supplement On Keto?
Taking fiber supplements on a ketogenic diet is a great way to add fiber to your diet. Not only can it save you time and energy, but can help you stay on track with your diet plan without breaking the rules.
Supplementing is a much simpler way to keep count of how much fiber is going into your body, as well as other nutritional factors such as the number of calories and carbs you are intaking per day.
Taking fiber supplements can also be more effective for weight loss because there is more measurable control when it comes to the ingredients that they contain.
Controlling the nutritional values allows brands to add a higher concentration of fiber as well as other important nutrients like protein. In addition, carbohydrates and other unnecessary ingredients that work against your keto diet can be eliminated to free up your nutritional bandwidth from whole foods.
Many people try to be as strict as possible when persuing a ketogenic diet. This can often create uncertainty and skepticism when adding other foods for sources of fiber and makes supplements a more reliable option.
If you can relate and you and don’t know what fiber supplements brands are reliable, then consider exploring our complete list of the best fiber supplements for keto.
How Much Fiber Should I Be Taking On A Keto Diet?
The Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that adults take 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories per day, or 25g for women and 38g for men daily.
It is important that you also make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. This will help any soluble fiber passing through your digestive system travel smoothly, and will better help prevent constipation.
Health authorities recommended that you drink at least 2 liters of water per day, which equals to about half a gallon. I know what you may be thinking, that’s a heck ton of H2O. Although, remember that our bodies are made of almost 60% of water, and everything from your brain, organs and muscles depend on it to function optimally.