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Increasing Intake of Dietary Fibre

Introduction A high fibre diet involves much more than taking unprocessed wheat bran. The wide variety of different types of dietary fibre should be included in the daily diet. In this respect it is also worth noting that dietary fibre is usually a “marker” of other important nutrients. By contrast, low fibre foods frequently lack other nutritional benefits. Dietary fibre occurs only in foods of vegetable origin. Those include:

  • Breads, cereals, grains and grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes

Most foods within these groups contribute some dietary fibre, but some foods have more than others. For example, white bread contains some dietary fibre, where-as wholemeal breads have 4 times as much. Some highly processed breakfast cereals are almost totally devoid of fibre while oats and whole wheat products are good sources. The best food choices can be made as follows:

Bread and related Products

  • Choose breads from wholemeal, wholegrain, high fibre with added oatbran, multigrain, wholemeal lebanese or pita breads.
  • Purchased or home made muffins made from wholemeal flour with added oats, oatbran or wheatbran.
  • Wholegrain biscuits such as Ryvita, Wholemeal Crackerbread, Bran and Malt Cruskits,Vogels Crispbread (these all have no added fats or Sugar) or home made oat crackers. Vita wheat, Wholemeal Salada, Sesame Wheat, Scottish Oatcakes, Shredded Wheatmeal all contain fibre, but also contain fat.
  • Cakes, biscuits or scones made with wholemeal flour.

Cereal Foods

  • Rolled oats (traditional or one minute), wholemeal porridge.
  • Oatbran (make into porridge) or unprocessed wheat bran (2 tablespoons)
  • Wheatgerm
  • Bran Cereals (All Bran, Bran Flakes, Sultana Bran)
  • Wholegrain Breakfast Cereals (Weetbix, Ready Weets, Vita Brits, Bran Bix, Puffed Wheat, Wheat Flakes,>
  • Shredded Wheat, Natural Muesli (Toasted muesli has a high content of saturated fat and in most brands added sugar), Sustain, Fibre Plus.
  • Wholemeal pasta, brown rice or cracked wheat (use as rice).

Oats, wheat, cracked wheat (or burghul), brown rice, millet, corn, buckwheat, rye, barley. These can be used in casseroles and soups, or with vegetable, chicken or meat dishes. They can also be used in some desserts.

Peas, baked beans and haricots, mung, kidney, navy,soya, blackeyed and butter beans Root Vegetables Potatoes, carrots, kumara, celery, beetroot, sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips

Other Vegetables
Especially peas, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage, leeks, eggplant and cauliflower.

Dried apricots, passionfruit, prunes, berry fruits, raisins, dates, pears, apples, bananas, mandarins, oranges, avocados, mangoes, nectarines, rhubarb and melons. Where practical include the skin of these fruits.

Nuts and Seeds
All nuts, plus sunflower, sesame seeds and pepitas.


  • Refined products made with white flour, refined breakfast cereal, most biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • Fruit and Vegetable juices – eating the whole fruit is a much better source of fibre
  • Fatty foods and large quantities of sugar

Fluids Dietary fibre absorbs water and it is important to drink plenty of fluids. A minimum of 8 glasses of water a day is recommended. Filling or fattening? Many people confuse filling with fattening. Foods with plenty of dietary fibre are filling but that does not necessarily make the fattening. A bowl of porridge for example, is much more filling than a bowl of cornflakes yet each contain a similar number of kilojoules. Eating more filling foods can actually help reduce the total amount eaten and can be valuable for those who need to lose weight. How much fibre? The average Australian diet contains about 15grams of dietary fibre, less than half the quantity usually recommended. Amounts greater than 40-50grams of fibre per day will do no harm. However, any increase in fibre should be introduced gradually to prevent excessive flatus (wind).

Fibre Levels In Foods At Your Supermarket

Breads –Dietary Fibre— In Grams Breakfast Cereals —Dietary Fibre— In Grams Other —Dietary Fibre– In Grams
Wholemeal Roll 15.1 Allbran 9.5 Popped Corn 1 cup 1.0
Wholemeal bread 2.4 Muesli 8.0 Corn chips packet 0.5
Multigrain 2.0 Branflakes 7.0 Meats -all types 0.0
High fibre white 1.8 Porridge 5.0 Dairy Products 0.0
White roll 1.4 Muesli Flakes 3.6 Eggs 0.0
Muffin (half) 1.2 Unprocessed Bran 3.0 Fats 0.0
Rye crispbread 1.2 Weetbix 2.8 Sugars 0.0
Fruit loaf 1.0 Wheatgerm 2.0
Toast thick white 0.9 N-Grain, Rice Bubbles 0.0
White 0.6 Cornflakes, SpecialK 0.0


Vegetables Nuts
Asparagus 1.5 Mushrooms 2.5 Almonds 30gms 4.3
Beans -green 3.0 Parsnip 3.0 Brazil Nuts 30gms 2.7
-Kidney, soya 9.5 Peas 7.5 Cashews 30gms 2.4
Beansprouts 0.5 Potato-with skin 3.0 Coconut fresh 10.0
Broccoli 4.0 Potato – peeled 1.5 Coconut dried 3.5
Brussels sprouts 3.0 Pumpkin 1.5 Hazel Nuts 30gms 1.8
Cabbage 2.0 Spinach 4.5 Peanuts 30gms 2.4
Cauliflower 2.0 Sweet Potato 2.5 Peanut paste-serve 3.0
Celery 1.0 Tomato 2.0
Corn 1 cob 6.5 Yam 4.0
Cucumber 0.2 Zucchini 2.0
Lentils 1.0
Lettuce 1.0


Apple – with skin 3.3 Kiwifruit 2.2 Plums x2 3.2
Apricots 100gms 2.0 Mango 3.5 Prunes x6 8.0
Avocado – half 2.0 Melon – 200gms 2.0 Raisins/Sultanas 3.0
Banana 4.0 Nectarine x2 2.5 Raspberries half punnet 9.3
Blackberries half pun 9.0 Orange 3.0 Rhubarb – cooked 4.0
Cherries 150gms 2.5 Passionfruit x2 6.5 Strawberries 2.8
Figs – fresh 2.5 Pawpaw -150gms 3.5
Figs – dried 9.0 Peach 1.8
Grapes – 200gms 1.8 Pear 3.5
Grapefruit 2.0 Pineapple 1slice 2.1


Meal Examples

Low Fibre Dietary fibre – (in grams) High Fibre Dietary fibre – (in grams)
Breakfast Breakfast
– Cornflakes 0.0 – Porridge (or Weetbix) 4.0
– Milk 0.0 – Milk 0.0
– 2 slices white toast 1.0 – 2 slices wholemeal toast 5.0
Lunch Lunch
– Sandwiches – white 2.0 – Sandwich – wholemeal 5.0
– Meat & tomato sauce 0.0 – Chicken & salad 3.0
– Chocolate bar 0.0 – Apple 3.0
Dinner Dinner
-Grilled chops 0.0 – Grilled chops 0.0
– Chips 2.0 – Jacket potato 3.0
– Salad 3.0 – 2 or 3 vegetables 8.0
– Icecream 0.0 – Fruit salad 4.0
Snacks Snacks
Fruit 1 piece 3.0 Fruit 2 pieces 6.0
Crisps 0.5 Wholemeal bread -1slice 2.5
Sweet Biscuits 0.5 Rye crackers 2.5