By: Trent Jones et al
You’ve got the basics down. You’re eating at least 200 grams of protein (as a male, 150g if you’re female) every day. As the weight got heavier you probably started increasing your carbohydrates while lowering your fat intake, to maintain performance and leaner body composition. But have you been paying attention to your fiber intake?
Dietary fiber is sometimes called the “fourth macro,” and it’s an apt name. You should be aiming to eat a high fiber diet, for a couple reasons. Fiber, like protein, is thermogenic: it requires a large amount of energy to digest, creating lots of heat (thermo-) in the process. Consequently, a greater fiber intake increases metabolism, since metabolism is the sum of caloric expenditure from exercise, the basal metabolic rate, and the thermogenic effect of food. Fiber also takes up space in the gut, increasing satiety without adding calories! While hanging out there, it also inhibits absorption of cholesterol and glucose (hello diabetes and lipid profile benefits), while helping with the absorption of very important and essential micronutrients.
That said, we don’t always get enough fiber despite our best efforts. Robert Santana, Starting Strength Coach and resident nutrition expert at BLOC, recommends that most males eat 40g and females 30g of fiber daily. This translates to roughly 14g of fiber per 1000 calories – those with higher than average caloric intake should adjust accordingly.
If you are having trouble hitting this target, here are fahve fiber “hacks” from our coaches that you can incorporate into your snacks and meals:
- As mentioned on the Barbell Logic Podcast #47 and #89, Santana likes the Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat tortillas. Use these for breakfast tacos in the morning, tacos for dinner, or just as a snack. Each tortilla has 9-15g of fiber, depending on which size and variety you get, which compares favorably to the 3g fiber in Mission’s regular wheat tortillas, or the measly 1g in a typical flour tortilla. The taste holds up too. They are indistinguishable from regular whole wheat tortillas.
- Reynolds likes a snack of Siggi’s nonfat yogurt and Bran Buds, a cereal with 13g fiber per serving (which is only 1/3 cup).
- Coach Marie Kunkel has some go-to high fiber snacks: Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt – 6g fiber per serving. 120 cals 15g protein/15g carbs/0g fat; and Oatmega Protein Bars – 7g fiber per bar. 190 cals 14g protein/21g carbs/7g fat.
- Coach Mike Grillo also likes to snack on high fiber protein bars, but he prefers the Kirkland protein bars sold at Costco, which weigh in at 15g fiber per bar.
- Of course, don’t overlook the most obvious way to get more fiber: vegetables. Coach Angie Bryant eats two servings of frozen greens or similar fiber filled veggies (riced cauliflower, sweet potato, broccoli, etc) with every meal. Likewise, Staci Rudnitsky will eat half a can of beans with her meals (okay, okay, beans are a legume, but whatever). Andrew Jackson likes the premade salads from Trader Joes. For $5 and a can of tuna or chicken, you can throw together lunch with minimal prep time.
- Here’s a bonus: CJ Gotcher likes the Birds Eye Steamfresh Protein Blends for a high fiber meal “base.” While they aren’t actually that great as a protein source, each bag has 24g of fiber. You can easily top it with tuna or ground turkey to add animal protein, and get a pretty solid macro balance.
Do you have some great nutritional “hacks” of your own that you’d like to share? Send us an email at email@example.com and let us know!