When you remove all the usual sources of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), which is the requirement for a keto diet, it will be a lot harder for you to consume the amount of fiber needed for your body.
Here’s an ironic twist:
A high fat diet, like the keto diet, minimizes gastrointestinal motility and slows down digestion. As a result, you’re at risk of constipation, a popular keto side effect. To combat these adverse GI effects of a high-fat diet, facilitate regular bowel movements, and promote good digestive health, you need to consume more fiber.
Now, here’s where the problem starts:
Since most fiber rich foods are also rich in carbohydrates, how do you boost fiber consumption on keto?
We know this can be a tricky problem, but we have good news! According to experts, you can get the amount of fiber you need even if you’re on a ketogenic diet with proper diet planning.
To figure out what you can do to up your fiber intake on a keto diet, keep reading!
How Much Fiber Do We Need?
To be honest, the dietary fiber guidelines vary a lot. Let’s take a look at these guidelines to determine which amount of fiber can help you achieve optimal health on a ketogenic diet.
The highest recommended dietary fiber requirement is that of the National Academy of Science-- 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams of fiber for women. On the other hand, the USDA recommends getting around 25 to 31 grams of fiber for teenage and adult men and women.
Now, let’s proceed to the lowest side of the spectrum: the recommendation of 14 to 23 grams of fiber per day based on the study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.
So, which of these guidelines should you follow?
The best thing that you can do is experiment with the amount of fiber that would work best for you.
Since the average human body only consumes 10 to 15 grams of fiber daily, you should start with daily consumption of 15 to 20 grams of fiber. If you don’t think that’s enough for you, add 3 to 5 grams of the fiber after a few days and monitor its effect.
Please note that you need to get your daily fiber intake from a mix of insoluble and soluble fiber to achieve optimal digestive health.
Different Ways on How to Boost Fiber on a Ketogenic Diet
Having the right amount of fiber on a ketogenic diet is more than just avoiding constipation and digestive issues. One more important thing you need to understand is your immune system is also affected by your digestive system’s condition.
If you want to enjoy good overall health, here are the best ways to boost your fiber intake when on a ketogenic diet:
1. Eat non-starchy vegetables.
For your information, not all vegetables are rich in carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, above-ground vegetables are lower in carbohydrates than below-ground vegetables or root vegetables. To stick to your carbohydrate restrictions, you should avoid potatoes and sweet potatoes.
If you want to get the amount of fiber you need while maintaining your low carb diet, it’s recommended that you eat non-starchy vegetables.
Your best bet for vegetables that are pack with fiber and are low in carbs, calories, and sugars is no other than green and leafy vegetables. These include:
This is one of the best sources of fiber as it contains 2.4 grams of fiber and only 1.4 grams of net carb per cup.
It contains 1 gram of dietary fiber and 2.5 grams of net carb per cup. You can also incorporate kale in your diet since one cup of kale has 2.5 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of net carbs.
These can give you more fiber when cooked raw. A cup of cooked and chopped collard greens can provide you up to 8 grams of fiber and only 3 grams of net carb.
When in doubt, always choose green vegetable variants than other colors as they tend to contain lower amounts of carbohydrates.
For example, opt for a green cabbage instead of a purple one or choose a green bell pepper over red or yellow bell peppers.
In addition to leafy greens, other low-carb vegetable options are as follows:
- Cauliflower (3 grams of fiber and 2.8 grams of net carbs)
This is perfect in making a keto-friendly pizza crust or a low carb rice or mashed potato alternative.
- Asparagus (1,8 grams of fiber and 1.9 grams of net carbs)
- Green Bell Pepper (1.6 grams of fiber and 4.4 grams of net carb)
- Broccoli (2.4 grams of fiber and 3.6 grams of net carb)
2. Munch on some popcorn.
Most snacks that you can find are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber-- bread, chips, fries, and many more. For a keto friendly snack option, we recommend munching on popcorn.
You see, 3 cups of air-popped popcorn have 4 grams of fiber and 14 grams of net carb. This is one of the snack options that have the highest fiber content. But as you may have noticed, you can already get 1/3 of your net carb from one serving (3 cups) of popcorn.
If you want to incorporate the popcorn in your diet, it’s recommended that you limit your consumption of other high carbohydrate food items once you’ve already consumed your popcorn serving.
Here are also other useful tips to minimize your calorie intake when eating popcorn:
- Use small amounts of butter and coconut oil when cooking the popcorn.
- Avoid buying pre-popped popcorn products.
- Make popcorn at home, so you know what ingredients go into it, and it will be easier for you to monitor your carbohydrate consumption.
- Don’t go for flavored popcorns.
- Flavor your popcorn only with salt or butter.
3. Incorporate seeds into your diet.
If grains are your enemy on a ketogenic diet, seeds are your best sources of fiber! There are plenty of low carb high fiber seeds, and these are as follows:
These seeds are considered to be nutritional powerhouses. One good example is chia seeds because these are packed with minerals, vitamins, protein, and omega-3-fatty acids.
It also has high fiber content since an ounce of chia seeds contains up to 11 grams of fiber—95% are insoluble fiber.
Another great thing with chia seeds is they are versatile, so they’re easy to incorporate in your diet. You can mix it in lemon-infused water, let it bloom, then drink up. You can also sprinkle it over your sandwiches or salads or mix it into your smoothies. Making chia pudding is also a great idea.
This is another superfood that you may want to take advantage of when you’re on the ketogenic diet. Its nutritional content is quite impressive as it contains high amounts of fat and fiber and low net carb. Most of its carbohydrates come in the form of fiber.
Three tablespoons of flaxseeds yield around 5.7 grams of fiber and only 0.3 grams of net carbohydrates. How amazing is that?
When taking flaxseeds, one thing you should take note of is your body can’t properly digest whole flaxseeds. Because of this, you should only take flaxseeds in the ground or milled form so your body can get the nutrients that it contains.
Same with flaxseeds, these seeds are also excellent sources of fiber and fat. 28 grams of shelled flower seeds contain 2 grams of fiber and only 4 grams of net carbs.
In addition to these nutrients, you can also get high amounts of vitamin E, phenolic acids, and flavonoids, which may contain anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties.
Sunflower seeds are often consumed as snacks. But there are more creative ways to incorporate these seeds into your diet. You can use this as a salad topping or use it to make sunflower seed butter.
In addition to being fiber rich, these seeds can also make you feel full for longer. As a result, you will eat less and lose more weight.
4. Snack on nuts.
Before you go nut trying to figure out how to increase your fiber consumption, why don’t you snack on nuts first? Just like seeds, nuts also provide fat, protein, and, most of all, fiber.
When on a ketogenic diet, here are some nuts that can help you boost your dietary fiber:
An ounce (19 halves) of pecan deliver only 1 gram of net carb and 3 grams of fiber.
This is one of the fiber rich nuts as it has 3.5 grams of fiber and only 2.5 grams of net carb per ounce. That would be around 23 kernels of almonds.
An ounce or 28 grams of this Southern America Tree Nut yields around 2 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of net carb.
An ounce or 28 grams of Macadamia nut will give you 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs. The best thing about this nut is it’s high in fats (around 21 grams), so it’s a perfect keto snack.
A 28-gram serving of this keto friendly high fat nut will give you 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
You may know this as an excellent nut for making desserts because of its smooth and buttery texture. What you didn’t realize is you can still consume this tree nut even if you’re on a ketogenic diet as an ounce of it can yield 3 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of net carbs.
The great thing with these nuts is they are easy to incorporate in your dishes. You can use it to top your salads. Another great option is to use crushed nuts as a coating or breading for your fried chicken or fish.
5. Serve lentils or beans on the side.
Another great source of fiber would be legumes, specifically black beans or lentils. A cup of cooked lentils can deliver 16 grams of fiber and 26 grams of net carb, while black beans can give you 15 grams of fiber and 26 grams of carbohydrates.
You can easily serve these as side dishes to your protein like chicken or fish. These are also readily available so you can easily pop open a can of beans when you’re running out of time.
As compared to the other food recommendations in this list, the carbohydrate content of legumes is considerably higher, so you should consume these only in moderation.
6. Take fiber supplements.
As much as you can, get your fiber consumption from natural food sources. But as we all know, that’s not an easy feat to accomplish. Lucky for you, we have supplements that can help us get our recommended daily fiber.
Fiber supplements come in different forms, ranging from chewable tablets to powders to tablets and drinks. Fiber supplements are also available in various types. These are as follows:
This supplement contains 30% insoluble fiber and 70% soluble fiber. When Psyllium enters the gut, it’s fermented and broken down into a food source for the gut bacteria’s food source.
It’s considered to be a soluble fiber which pulls water to make the stool softer.
This is similar to methylcellulose in the sense that they are both soluble fiber. Its mechanism of action is also the same – it makes stool bulkier and softer by drawing water into it.
Please keep in mind that these supplements may interfere with certain medications. Additionally, boosting your fiber consumption too fast can also cause digestive issues.
Because of this, you should talk with your doctor first before taking such supplements. In this way, you can determine if taking a fiber supplement can be beneficial for you. You can also be able to identify which is the best dosage for you.
Please check out our buying guide if you want to know the best fiber supplements for keto dieters, please check out our buying guide. You can also discover what other keto supplements you should take by reading this article.
Yes, the keto diet has plenty of health benefits, but we can’t deny that it comes with various side effects. Fortunately, we can combat these side effects by monitoring our food intake and planning our diet well.
As a keto dieter, proper menu planning is more important to you now more than ever. That’s why you should take the time to track your fiber consumption and to invest more effort in adding more of these low carb and high fiber food items in your diet.