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All about fibre

Dietary fibre

Most of us do not consume enough fibre to reap their benefits! They mainly assist in keeping cholesterol and blood sugar in check, and also help regulate intestinal transit and manage weight through their satiating effect.


Fibre requirements

Here are the requirements for an adult:

  • Men between the ages of 9 and 50: 38 g per day
  • Men over the age of 50: 30 g per day
  • Women between the ages of 19 and 50: 25 g per day
  • Women over the age of 50: 21 g per day


25 g of fibre is equivalent to:

Breakfast: ½ cup whole wheat bran cereals + 1 medium banana

Lunch: a sandwich made of two slices of whole wheat bread + ½ cup carrots

Supper: 1 cup white spaghetti pasta + ½ cup broccoli


Generally speaking, Canadians only get 15 g of fibre per day, which barely accounts for half of their recommended daily intake. This low quantity can hinder weight loss and maintenance, as appetite is poorly controlled. The less fibre we get from nutrition, the less food expands in our stomach, and this leaves us feeling hungry. Eating vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains is therefore essential!


Properties of fibre

There are two types of fibres: soluble and insoluble, each with their own properties:

Soluble fibres


Help stabilise cholesterol and blood sugar

May help reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

May counter the effects of diarrhea


Psyllium enriched cereals

Cereal and oat bran

Legumes (ex: lentils)

Pectin-rich fruit (ex: apples, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit)

Preferably cooked vegetables (ex: carrots, asparagus, squash, zucchini, peeled potatoes)



Chia and flax seeds

Insoluble fibres


Increase intestinal transit

Increase satiety


Brand and wheat cereals

Whole-grains foods

Vegetables (ex: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes with skin)

Fruits (ex: grapes)

Nuts and seeds


Note: Most foods that contain fibre provide a mix of soluble and insoluble fibres, and some may contain more of one of these two types.


A nutrition rich in fibre requires that you drink a lot of water to avoid getting your intestines clogged. Aim to drink from 1.5 to 2 L of water per day, excluding the water you drink during your workouts.


As a last note, here are a few tips to add some fibre to your menu:

  • Add oat flakes or chia seeds to your yogurt;
  • Eat fruits and vegetables as snacks and in your meals (prepare them ahead of time);
  • In your recipes, substitute half the quantity of white flour with whole-wheat flour;
  • Add legumes to your menu: add some to your chilli, spaghetti sauce, or simply puree them;
  • Favour whole grain products and vary your side dishes: barley, quinoa, millet, wild rice, etc.


Marie-Eve Nadeau P.Dt

Chaput, Cynthia. Diabetes Quebec team of dietiticans/nutritionists. Dietary fibre. http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/diet/food-and-nutrients/dietary-fibre  June 2015.

Marie-Ève Nadeau, Dt.P.

Member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and holder of a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Marie-Eve joined the Nautilus Plus team in November 2012. Nutritionist since January 2013 and assistant manager at Delson’s centre, Marie-Eve has found a passion for exercise and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her studies with the International Olympic Committee and exercises regularly. She ran her first half-marathon in Ottawa in May 2014, and was thrilled by the experience! She strives to pass on her passion to her clients and loved ones. Her objective is to help her clients get the results they desire and motivate them to adopt a healthy life style. She creates weight loss support groups and holds conferences on motivation and how to plan shopping for groceries.

All about fibre is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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