PDA

View Full Version : Do you count the calories in fiber?

ThomasG
08-15-2010, 07:58 PM
I've noticed this is kind of a gray area in nutrition. In the us companies are allowed to minus out the calories from fiber but in canada they aren't

Thoughts?

Behemoth
08-16-2010, 09:57 AM
No, why would you?

Alex.V
08-16-2010, 10:16 AM
Fiber isn't digested, so it has zero caloric value.

If you have too much of it, and not enough water, it's a net negative. Straining to get that ***** out burns hella calories.

seK
08-16-2010, 10:40 AM
Fiber isn't digested, so it has zero caloric value.

If you have too much of it, and not enough water, it's a net negative. Straining to get that ***** out burns hella calories.

I have seen that slogan right on the Bran Box "******* it out burns hella calories"!

It's just two different ways of doing things, I guess Canada just wants you to practice your math.

ThomasG
08-16-2010, 11:35 AM
I've also read from certain nutritionists/doctors to count the calories in fiber or only 2cal/gram... Thanks for the comments guys.

Alex.V
08-16-2010, 12:00 PM
Given your overall fiber intake a day is probably under 20-30 grams, I wouldn't worry about it too much either way. No reason to get that specific with your caloric intake; add up the margins for error in serving size, listed nutrient information, thermic effect of food, caloric expenditure due to activity level, etc., and you'll realize there's no sense whatsoever in worrying about 25-50 calories in your diet.

mike mcgee
08-16-2010, 12:17 PM
courtesy of: http://www.wisegeek.com/do-fiber-calories-count.htm (wfs)

There are two types of dietary fiber — soluble and insoluble — and for the purposes of counting Calories, it is necessary to distinguish between the two. Soluable fiber refers to the type of fiber that disperses in water, whereas insoluable fiber refers to the type that doesn't. When soluble fiber disperses in water it generally develops into a gel-like substances which slows down digestion. This type of fiber is generally considered to contribute to Caloric intake. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn't dissolve in water, and because it passes through the body without much change, it's generally not considered to contribute to Caloric intake.

How much energy is in fiber, and therefore how many Calories are in fiber, is still unclear. According to a 2002 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) regarding dietary reference intakes, the energy yield of fiber when consumed by humans is somewhere in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 Calories (kCal) per gram (6.3 to 10.5 kilojoules per gram).

Whether fiber Calories are included in food nutrition labels varies among countries. Some countries do not include fiber Calories. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers to include insoluble fiber in fiber Calorie counts on nutrition labels, usually as a subset of the total carbohydrate count. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the general practice within the food industry is not to include insoluble fiber in the total carbohydrate count.

When fiber is listed as a part of a food's total carbohydrate content, it is counted at 4 Calories per gram — just like all other carbs. The reason fiber Calories are counted is because when fiber is processed, the bacteria in the large intestines ferment the fiber, producing chemicals that get absorbed by the body. So, indirectly, fiber contributes Calories.

Some dietitians argue that since the body doesn’t burn fiber, fiber Calories can be subtracted. So, take for example a breakfast cereal that has 130 Calories and 9 grams of fiber per serving. If a Calorie counter is subtracting his or her fiber Calories, she'll be able to mark that meal as 94, instead of 130, Calories. That's because each gram of fiber is estimated to have 4 Calories.

The IOM reports the median daily intakes of fiber to be 16.5 to 17.9 grams per day for men and 12.1 to 13.8 grams per day for women. The FDA 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommends 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed. US food nutrition labels note the amount fiber in a food as compared to the recommended daily intake. This percent is based on a 25 gram daily intake. Generally, dietitians recommend between 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day but the proper amount can vary among people based on weight, activity levels, and other health considerations. Trainers and nutritionists say people that are counting their Calories in order to lose weight should eat a good amount of fiber.

The best way to obtain dietary fiber is to eat foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, like oat bran. The benefits go far beyond simply ingesting semi-empty Calories that make one feel full. Fiber helps treat and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis, and helps decrease blood cholesterol levels.

Alex.V
08-16-2010, 12:33 PM
When fiber is listed as a part of a food's total carbohydrate content, it is counted at 4 Calories per gram — just like all other carbs. The reason fiber Calories are counted is because when fiber is processed, the bacteria in the large intestines ferment the fiber, producing chemicals that get absorbed by the body. So, indirectly, fiber contributes Calories.

This only applies to soluble fiber, where certain byproducts of bacterial fermentation can be used by the human body.

Humans do not have the bacteria that many herbivores have that are required to digest INsoluble fiber, therefore there is no caloric impact (as there are no metabolically active compounds or by-products generated by this type of fiber).

Edit------- ok, so I hate it when people are simplistic and misleading, and I went ahead and wrote a post that was just that. Humans CAN digest cellulose, however cellulose is SUCH a long chain polysaccharide that digesting any appreciable amount would take weeks, at which point it's gone right through the system. Picture a typical carbohydrate as having from one (pure glucose) to tens of thousands (cellulose) of sugar molecules. The longer the chain, the longer it takes to digest.

If you want to take it to an extreme, picture the body taking in, say, one hundred thousand glucose molecules. Each of those can be used for energy immediately. Now, picture them all strung together in a long chain, where the body has to slowly break down all 99,999 bonds to completely digest the molecule. Compound this issue when the long chain of glucose molecules is wrapped tightly around other similar chains. The human body is so slow at digesting this that it only manages to pull off a handful of molecules before the chain is popped out the other end. That's insoluble fiber. Herbivores have bacteria in their gut that help tear these clusters apart, so it's a useful source of energy. We don't.

Therefore, long story short, there's no absolute here in terms of calculating calories. I wouldn't worry about it too much, unless you're trying to go on a ketogenic diet and are worried that the 40 grams of soluble fiber you're taking in a day (to help combat constipation) might be knocking you out of ketosis.