As seen previously, dietary fibre is generally good for health and can even be useful to athletes wanting to improve body composition. Fibre in food is present in different quantities so it’s good to know which foods have higher contents.
Fibre in food
As seen previously, fibre is present in many plant foods, including vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans, chickpeas), fruits, cereals, nuts and seeds. The exact amount of total fibre and the types of fibre contained in each food depend on the actual food.
Most food databases and nutrition information panels contain the total amount of fibre rather than the amount per type (e.g. soluble, insoluble, resistant starch).
In Australia and New Zealand, packaged foods can be labelled as good, excellent or increased source of dietary fibre based on its content:
- Good source: 4-7 grams per serving
- Excellent source: 7+ grams per serving (1)
Foods can also be labelled as having increased dietary fibre if they have at least 2 grams per serving and at least 25% more than the same amount of an equivalent reference food (1).
How much do we need?
The daily adequate intake (AI) in Australia depends on gender, age and life stage as per the tables below (2).
|Age (years)||AI (males)||AI (females)|
|1-3||14 g/d||14 g/d|
|4-3||18 g/d||18 g/d|
|9-13||24 g/d||20 g/d|
|14-18||28 g/d||22 g/d|
|14-18 (pregnant)||25 g/d|
|14-18 (lactating)||27 g/d|
|19+||30 g/d||25 g/d|
|19-50 (pregnant)||28 g/d|
|19-50 (lactating)||30 g/d|
Top foods for fibre
The graphs below contains the top foods for each of the food categories mentioned before. The amount of fibre is given per 100g of the food (3).
- I have excluded some foods that are very high in fibre but are not consumed in large amounts (e.g. herbs), uncommon foods, foods that are not eaten in a particular state (e.g. raw), etc.
- Keep in mind that 100g is not necessarily a normal serving size, so adjust accordingly.
Summary and recommendations
Fibre is present in a number of plant foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, nuts and seeds. The amount and types of fibre depend on each particular food. Therefore, it is a good idea to eat a variety of fibre-rich foods on a daily basis. More fibre is not always better, some people may experience digestive issues or fail to meet their energy requirements due to excess fibre intake.
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. (2017). Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Schedule 4 – Nutrition, health and related claims. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017C00711
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand [Internet]. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2006. Available from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n35.pdf
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2019). Australian Food Composition Database – Release 1. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at https://www.foodstandards.gov.au