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Ask Dr. Gourmet

How can I get more fiber in my gluten-free diet?

I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in the summer of 2010 and have made a healthy transition to a gluten-free diet. One thing I've been noticing lately is the relatively low fiber content of some of the foods I've been eating. Before diagnosis I enjoyed several great high fiber cereals for breakfast. Now I'm lucky if I see 2g of fiber in my bowl. I eat a fair amount of fruit (apples, bananas, sometimes oranges, pears and grapes), but I fear I'm not getting enough fiber. Any recommendations?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Quinoa Tabbouleh - click for recipe!

I have found the same issue with many traditional products that are made in a gluten free version. Most of these are the substitutes for products that would usually contain wheat such as breads, crackers, snack foods, pastas, cereals and the like. These are often the things that we think of as side dishes, however.

Gluten free oatmeal and cereals made with oatmeal are now fairly widely available but there are a lot of great choices for you to eat great food, eat gluten free and get a lot of fiber in your diet:

  • For pastas I like those made with quinoa. They actually contain more fiber than whole wheat pastas.
  • Quinoa is also a fantastic choice as a side dish and has a ton of fiber with a 1/4 cup serving (raw) providing 6 grams.
  • Brown rice is a great choice instead of white rice.
  • Beans, beans and more beans. Legumes such as beans, lentils, garbanzos and split peas contain a lot of fiber.
  • Yams or sweet potatoes instead of potatoes.
  • Popcorn is a great snack food, and 100 calories worth contains about 4 grams of fiber. A cup of corn contains 3 grams of fiber.

It is easy to look at the labels of gluten free food "substitutes" and believe that you are not getting enough fiber, but there are great options for us to get enough fiber in our diets.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet