Lately, low-carb diets have been rising in popularity (especially keto). But for low-carb dieters, getting enough fiber can quickly become a day-to-day struggle.
According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily recommended fiber intake is between 25-38 grams per day. Although the recommendations vary from person to person, it's estimated that only 5 percent of Americans meet the requirements on a daily basis. It's important for us to get enough of this nutrient, since fiber aids with digestion, helps control weight, and has been associated with a decreased risk in chronic diseases.
Fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate that the body can't break down. Translation? Fiber-rich foods—such as fruit and whole grains—are often high in carbohydrates. But that doesn't mean low-carb dieters have to endure the negative health effects of a low-fiber diet. Thankfully, there are a number of high-fiber foods that are low in net carbs, which means you can reap all the benefits of fiber without overloading on carbs.
To make your low-carb diet approach more fiber-inclusive, consider counting net carbs (or digestible carbs). To figure out the number of net carbs in whole foods, subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate count (fiber isn't digested, meaning it can't be converted to glucose and throw you out of ketosis). Here are six whole foods that are low in net carbs, but high in fiber!
With 2g of fiber per tablespoon, these babies are a great addition to any diet! From boosting this Low-Carb Seeded Quick Bread to serving as an egg substitute, flaxseeds can be used in a variety of different ways. Try bulking up your meatloaf with plenty of fiber with this Flax-Boosted Meatloaf recipe!
Related: Healthy Flaxseed Recipes
Although half an avocado has about 9g of carbohydrates, most of the carbs come from fiber. With a high fiber content, half of this fruit packs in about 28 percent of your daily fiber intake with only 2g of net carbs! Topping your breakfast, lunch or dinner with some creamy slices is the perfect way to get in extra fiber, without wrecking your low-carb diet plan. Go ahead, order that guacamole for the table (sans chips, of course).
Related: Salmon-Stuffed Avocados
Although nuts are relatively low in net carbs, some nuts are better for low-carb dieters than others. Pecans and almonds provide 3g and 4g of fiber per one-ounce serving, respectively. Additionally, we love these nuts for all of their other health benefits! So, grab a handful for a boost of energy, or to curb those afternoon hangries and get your digestive track moving. (And with the potential to make your brain function better, we couldn't think of a better afternoon pick-me-up!)
With 10g of fiber in a one-ounce serving, these seeds may be little, but they're a fiber powerhouse. Not to mention, they come with other health benefits. Although more research is required, their high omega-3 profile may help prevent disease when consumed as a part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. With a healthy nutrient profile, we love to mix up our morning routine with chia seed pudding or toss them in one of these keto-friendly smoothies before heading to work!
Coconuts are definitely low-carb friendly! With 2g of fiber per tablespoon, shredded coconut is a super delicious way to add a kick of fiber into your day. Just make sure your coconut flakes are unsweetened, as sugar can add unwanted carbs. We love to mix shredded coconut with a handful of nuts for a low-carb trail mix!
Veggies are a great source of fiber (along with tons of other vitamins and minerals), so your intake shouldn't suffer just because you are on a low-carb diet plan. Root veggies—like carrots, potatoes, and onions—are higher in carbs, so it's best to opt for varieties that grow above ground, such as leafy greens or broccoli.
With 1g of fiber per serving, spinach and kale are nutritious replacements for iceberg lettuce. Although 1g of fiber may not seem like a lot, a single one-cup serving packs in about 5 percent of your recommended daily fiber intake!
For the cruciferous vegetable lovers out there, broccoli is another fantastic low-carb option! A one-cup serving provides 2g of fiber and 4 net carbs. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium, which are essential for bone health. It's a win-win!
Nutrition Information: USDA Food Composition Database