Long story short, you probably need more high fiber foods in your keto diet. This article will explain why fiber is so important, what it is and then give you the top 10 best high fiber keto foods to add to your low carb diet.
Why you need more high
fiber keto foods in your diet
As I know you’re all aware, there’s an obsession with macro nutrients at the moment when it comes to weight loss, diet and nutrition.
Different people will tell you you
But there’s a lot less focus on the bigger picture of nutrition, especially when it comes to weight loss.
I know it’s something I’ve been guilty of in the past, focussing only on ‘hitting my macros’ to make sure I’m solidly in ketosis, without paying much attention to what those macros look like. That’s something I want to improve, for myself, and for you reading I Eat Keto.
(If you’ve struggled with constipation, diarrhoea and other digestive issues whilst on a keto diet, chances are low fiber may be playing a part so you’ll definitely want to read on! Check out this guide to the other signs and symptoms on a keto diet)
A diet that’s sustainable long term, needs to be more than meat, dairy and bulletproof coffee. It needs to be nourishing you fully and getting you healthy inside and out for the long term, with sufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrition in addition to the macros you consume for energy.
And so with that in mind, it turns out
Their analysis concluded that there was a 15-30% decrease in mortality when comparing those with the highest and those with the lowest fiber intake.
High fiber diets indicated less heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer and many more improvements, with risk reduction being greatest with intakes above 25g per day.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat on the Keto Diet
As a starting point, women should be aiming to consume at least 25 grams of
Historically, our hunter gatherer ancestors were likely eating 100 grams or more of fiber per day, so 25-38g really isn’t too much.
By comparison, the average american typically eats around just 16g per day!
fiber is as the name suggests – soluble in water. It turns into a sort of gel once eaten and swells as it passes through your digestive system. It has a range of benefits including control of blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol, slowing down digestion and increasing your sense of fullness after eating.
It gets digested by bacteria in your colon, feeding your micro-biome for a healthy gut. It’s found mostly in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
fiber doesn’t dissolve and pretty much stays intact as it passes through your body. It’s crucial for healthy intestinal health and good digestion, especially for keeping you regular. This type is found mostly in nuts, seeds and grains.
I wouldn’t get too bogged down in focussing on getting the perfect ratio of these two, just focus on increasing your total dietary fiber intake and eating fiber from a variety of sources.
What are the Benefits of a High Fiber Diet?
As more and more research is done, it becomes more clear that fiber is a key component of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Regardless of whether you decide to follow a keto diet, you should be aiming to up your fiber intake. Check out some of the benefits below:
- Better Weight Loss – Even without going keto, upping your
fiber in your diet is going to make losing weigheasier. Numerous studies have found that added fiber can low blood sugar, reduce appetite and improve your gut microbiome for improved weight loss.
One study of twins in the UK found that high-fiber intake correlates with more diverse gut bacteria and lower weight gain over time, independent of calorie intake
- Reduced Type 2 Diabetes Risk – Adding fiber to your diet can mitigate high blood sugar spikes by slowing digestion, reducing the peaks of blood glucose and insulin which over time can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating extra fiber with meals is a good first step in lowering diabetes risk therefore.
In addition, one study found that added fiber can improve some of the markers of diabetes due to an increase in gut bacteria production of short-chain fatty acids in the colon, this led to an improvement in blood-glucose regulation in the diabetic test subjects.
- Lowered Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk– Numerous studies have found links between high fiber consumption and improved cholesterol markers. One analysis covering 76 different controlled trials found that the addition of up to 10g of extra soluble fiber per day reduced LDL (‘Bad’ cholesterol) and total cholesterol. Another meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal concluded that greater dietary fiber is associates with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease” “
- Improved Gut Bacteria Health – More and more research is pointing to the importance of your gut bacteria (also called your microbiome) and its impact on your overall health. Fiber intake has been associated with improvements in gut diversity making it a key dietary addition.
- Reduced Certain Cancer Risks – Increased fiber intake has been associated with decreased risks of a number of cancers, in particular colon cancer. One study found 18g or more of fiber resulted in an all-cause cancer mortality reduction of 24%.
- Improved bowel movement and reduced constipation – This is a big one for us on keto, constipation and bowel problems are a notorious keto side-effect, so anything to help deal with this is a god-send!
Is Fiber Low Carb?
Short answer – yes, fiber is low carb. But food labels do a great job of sowing confusion on the topic.
You see fiber is technically a carbohydrate, which is public enemy number one on a keto diet, however it’s important to know that fiber is nothing like the sugars and starches which we’re really trying to avoid.
Your body is able to quickly digest and absorb sugars and starches into the blood stream for energy, in turn potentially spiking insulin, slowing metabolism of stored fats and in excess, increasing fat storage.
On Keto we’re trying to acheive the opposite effect, mobilising our stored fat and using that for energy instead.
Unlike sugars, fiber isn’t digested as it passes through our small intestine, meaning it isn’t being used for energy, spiking insulin and leading to the potential downsides of a high carb diet.
For this reason, when calculating how many carbs you’re eating on a keto diet, you can essentially subtract the fiber from your total carbs, as your body isn’t using the fiber for energy.
This is what we call a net carb calculation – and it’s actually pretty simple:
TOTAL CARBS – FIBER = NET CARBS
This is one of those key confusing elements that has people going crazy trying to stay ultra low carb, and mistakenly avoiding fiber too on a keto diet. Because without this crucial calculation, some great keto foods like avocado suddenly look much worse than they are.
As an example, a medium avocado has a total of 12g total carbs! At first glance, if you’re going strict keto and aiming for 20g or less of carbs a day, then one avocado has used up over half your allowance!
But dig a little deeper and you see than 9 grams out of the 12 are actually fiber, meaning your net carb count is 12g (total carbs) – 9g (fiber) = 3g Net Carbs, great!
Suddenly you’d have to eat 7 avocados to break your 20g net carb limit, and you can see that avocado is actually a great fiber source on the keto diet!
So from now on, understand that fiber is your friend on keto – and focus on net carbs and keeping that down, rather than worrying about the total carb count.
Is a Keto Diet Low Fiber?
The reality is, a lot of people on the keto diet end up eating very little fiber. The reason being that some of the most high fiber foods tend to also be high in carbs and so get avoided on the keto diet.
Because of this the Keto Diet comes in for a lot of bad press as it’s often missing this key component of good nutrition.
Most people on a typical western diet will be eating lots of grains in bread, rice etc. These foods are high fiber, and also eaten in bulk – providing a reasonable amount of fiber, but also a lot of digestible carbs too (hence not permitted on keto) Beans, one of the best fiber sources, are also not eaten on a proper keto diet, restricting another great source of fiber.
Therefore on a keto diet, we really need to pay more attention to this crucial element of the diet than we normally would. It needs to be a more conscious effort – but one that we definitely shouldn’t ignore.
There’s no reason why a keto diet can’t have plenty of fiber in it, but to do so we need to be picking some key foods and integrating them into the diet. Meat and dairy aren’t going to help here, so it’s time to run through the 10 best high fiber foods to add to the keto diet, read on!
The Best High Fiber Keto Foods
So we’ve run through why you need high fiber foods in your keto diet, now lets talk about how to get them. Here you’ve got 10 of the best foods to focus on adding to your diet. Aim for variety when adding these (don’t just add 4 avocados per day! Tempting as that may be if you’re anything like me)
9g Fiber + 3g Net carbs per Medium Avocado
Personally, I’m addicted to avocados. I probably eat one almost everyday, but when you look at their nutrition facts is easy to see why they are such a great choice for the keto diet. It helps that they taste great too and are so easily added to so many varied types of meals.
A medium avocado will have as much as 10 grams of fiber whilst only bringing 3-4g of net carbs. If you’re aiming for 30g or so of fiber for the day, adding an avocado somewhere into your day is a great start.
Added to that is their great mix of healthy fat content, plenty of vitamins and minerals, with a single avocado offering up to 30% of you recommended daily minimum of a bunch of important vitamins. Eating one of these per day is a great way to set yourself up for good nutrition on the keto diet.
There are a million ways to get avocado into your keto diet, even if you’re not a huge fan of the taste (hint: use as a smoothie base, for a creamier texture) There are recipes for breakfast, snack, drinks, lunch dinner – anytime of day.
In fact I’ve got a great round up of some of my favorite Keto avocado recipes from around the web. Check those out and see if you can squeeze any of those into your weekly diet plan.
10.5g Fiber + 2g Net Carbs per Ounce
Chia seeds are a brilliant addition to the Kiet Diet. These tiny seeds are almost all fiber with a mighty 10.5 grams of fiber per ounce. Along with that fiber comes various minerals in the form of manganese, calcium, phosporous, omega-3 fats and more. All with less than 2 grams of net carbs per ounce .
How to add Chia Seeds to the Keto Diet? In a word, smoothies. I like to sprinkle these on top of smoothies rather than blend them in. These seeds absorb liquid and turn into a gel like substance when in liquid too long. In a small amount this can be good for the consistency of some smoothies
When they’re sprinkled on top they add a little crunch which I personally enjoy. I top up my smoothie with more on top as I drink it, aiming to get a couple of tablespoons in there. This is a smoothie I make a lot, as a quick breakfast usually – up the chia count more for a bigger fiber hit!
Alternatively you can make flavored chia puddings, aiming to get the seeds to swell up, absorbing liquid This is a great way of getting a big hit of chia into your diet in one go, and certainly makes for a much healthier dessert or breakfast option if done right.
3.6g Fiber + 2g Net Carbs per 100g (Collard Greens)
2.2g Fiber + 1.2g Net Carbs per 100g (Spinach)
4.1g Fiber + 4.4g Net Carbs per 100g (Kale)
Leafy greens are another brilliant fiber source that are ideal to incorporate into your keto diet, as they’re a bulk ingredient rather than a supplement – you eat these in bigger quantities (try eating 100g of chia seeds to see what I mean)
Collard greens, spinach and kale are three of the most common leafy greens people shoud add to their keto diet. All three are great sauteed with a little butter (you’ll want to soften kale or collard greens with a boil before sauteeing generally)
A high fiber content is just one of the great benefits of these greens, with them all also packing a high density of important vitamins and minerals. They’re high in folate, vitamin C, K, A and plenty more.
I’d suggest trying to incorporate a big portion of leafy greens into every meal. Generally speaking at least one third of your plate should be some sort of greens to aim for good nutrition.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower etc.
4.6g Fiber + 5.5g Net Carbs (Broccoli)
3.2g Fiber + 2.9g Net Carbs (Cauliflower)
Following on from leafy greens are the other main group of green veg you should be aiming to add to your Keto Diet, cruciferous veg such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Sprouts etc.
Again these are great as you can easily fill your plate with plenty of veg to get the fiber and all the added nutritional benefits from the minerals and vitamins these bring to the table.
100g of Cauliflower for instance brings 3.2g of fiber, but also over 100% of your minimum vitamin C intake for the day. A similar amount of broccoli alsobrings plenty of vitamin K as well as vitamin C.
These are easy to add to the keto diet – steamed broccoli with a little butter melted over it is great. Cauliflower rice is a keto staple, and when used as a bulk ingredient like this instead of rice it’s great nutrition, with far more vitamin and mineral content alongside the fiber than you would have got otherwise.
7.6g Fiber + 0.5g Net Carbs per Ounce
Flaxseeds are a really nutrient dense addition to the keto diet, but not one many people are familiar with using. These little seeds contain Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA), a key anti-inflammatory Omega-3 Fatty Acid. Along with this they also have plenty of selenium, magnesium, thiamin, copper and more.
Getting an ounce of flaxseed into your keto diet shouldn’t be too hard, they’re great sprinkled into salads, adding ground flax into shakes, sprinkled onto berries and puddings (add to a chia pudding for a huge hit of fiber!)
9g Fiber + 6.2g Net Carbs per 100g
Coconut milk and oil gets most of the attention but the flesh can be a great source of fiber. It contains plenty of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are ideal for ketosis, along with manganese, folate, iron, zinc, selenium and other key vitamins and minerals.
Blend raw coconut into smoothies or sauces, add it into chia seed puddings (even more fiber!), shred it into salads, dry it to make trail mix, or add chunks into stir fries and curries.
Blackberries and Raspberries
6.5g Fiber + 5.4g Net Carbs per 100g (Raspberries)
5.3g Fiber + 4.3g Net Carbs per 100g (Blackberries)
Fruit options on the Keto Diet are generally pretty limited, most are high in sugar and so a big no-no on the diet. An exception however (with moderation…) are blackberries and raspberries.
These low carb fruits are packing only 4-5g net carbs per 100g, but with a healthy 5-6g of fiber to go with it. Add in plenty of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K etc and you’ve got a great way to deal with any fruit cravings on the keto diet.
There are lots of ways to incorporate these into the keto diet, just eating them whole as a snack (don’t go crazy though!) or bland into smoothies, add to desserts, or eat with a chia pudding (even more fiber!)
2.7g Fiber + 1.2g Net Carbs per Ounce
Pecans are one of the best choices of nuts for the keto diet, packing in plenty of fiber with a tiny amount of net carbs.
In addition to that fiber, pecans also have high levels of healthy fats, manganese, copper, thiamin and more.
These are easy to incorporate into the keto diet, either just eat them on their own as a snack, blend into smoothies, add to the chia pudding (getting silly now with all those other potential additions! fiber overload!) There are hundred of keto pecan dessert recipes online, so definitely take a look at those if you’v got a sweet tooth.
3.3g Fiber + 2.1g Net Carbs per Ounce
Continuing the nut theme, almonds make a great addition too to the Keto Diet. Almonds have a high vitamin and mineral content, with high calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and more.
They’re great to snack on, and easily added to other foods and dishes. Almond flour is a great subsitute for regular flour in plenty of recipes, and brings with it that fiber and other nutrition. These almond flour keto pancakes are a delicious keto alternative to regular wheat pancakes, with a nutty flavor and fluffy texture, definitely worth a try!
This keto raspberry cheesecake recipe is a great combo of some of these high fiber ingredients, using raspberries, pecans and almond flour, definitely give it a go!
3g Fiber + 1 g Net Carbs per Ounce
Last but not least on this list are pumpkin seeds. These are delicious roasted and male an excellent snack with a little salt, or coated with a little coconut aminos and roasted.
They’re highly nutritious, with added zinc, copper, potassium and magnesium. Some key electrolytes in there which are important to maintain on the keto diet, especially in the initial transition phase where your body flushes out a lot of stored water and with it these minerals.
A trail mix of nuts, seeds and dried coconut would make a great keto snack to have on hand when hungry.
Key Points: Fiber and Keto
Adding fiber to your diet is a great idea, keto or not, with a host of health benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. But if you’re on keto, you’ll want to pay extra attention. If you’re experiencing gut/digestive issues, extra fiber may be the key to alleviating these.
I hope this article has helped you get a better understanding of the importance of adding fiber to your keto diet, and given you some tips and ideas to do so.
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