Concerned about getting enough fiber on a low carb, ketogenic diet? Just because you’re keto doesn’t mean you can subsist off bacon and butter. Here’s how to meet your needs for fiber on keto.
Fiber is an essential part of any diet. And, while it is true that fiber and carbohydrates go hand-in-hand, you don’t have to go over your daily carb allowance to meet your fiber goals.
Choose low carb fiber choices in the form of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds and low glycemic fruits.
New to a keto way of eating? Get your essential keto questions answered in this Keto FAQ’s.
How much fiber do I need?
In paleolithic times, scientists estimated that humans were consuming about 150g of fiber a day. Today we are eating more like 15 grams per day, many from concentrated sources of carbohydrates, not nutrient dense vegetables.1
The FDA recommends around 25-30g of fiber per day. If you’ve eliminated grains and legumes to balance blood sugar, support your gene expression and lower inflammation, then you’ll need to look at these keto-friendly fiber sources:
High Fiber Foods on a Ketogenic Diet
- Avocado 1 c, cubed = 11 g
- Brussel Sprouts 1 c = 8 g
- Chia 2 tbsp = 10 g
- Coconut 2 tbsp coconut flour = 10 g; 1 c coconut flakes = 7 g
- Berries 1 c = 8 g
- Leafy Greens 1 c cooked = up to 5 g
- Flaxseeds 2 tbsp = 2 g
- Cabbage 1 c raw, chopped = 2.2 g
- Cauliflower 1 c = 2 g
- Broccoli 1 c = 2 g
- Asparagus 1 c = 3g
- Red/Yellow Onion 2 tbsp= 0.4 g
- Shallots 2 tbsp= 0.6 g
- Leeks 2 tbsp = 0.1 g
- Garlic 2 tbsp = 0.3 g
Why do I need fiber?
Since your body doesn’t absorb fiber, it isn’t considered an essential nutrient; however, a diet lacking in fiber can be filled with health problems.
The benefits of fiber
Fiber contributes to regularity and wards off constipation. It can help in weight loss and maintenance by making you feel full and satisfied.2 Fiber also may be protective for heart health and against certain cancers.3 Eating a high fiber diet lowered heart disease risk by 40 percent.4 It might even play a role in reducing food allergies.5
Fiber plays a role in blood sugar regulation. If you’re new to the ketogenic lifestyle and want to avoid the mood dips that sometimes accompany blood sugar drops when adopting a low carb eating template, fiber is your friend.
Fiber feeds the microbes in your intestines. As it hangs out in your digestive tract, it begins to ferment. Then, the beneficial bacteria in your gut eats it. Then, they produce short-chain fatty acids, which might be helpful in warding off IBS, Crohn’s and heart disease while also protecting the lining of your colon.6
Helpful Tips to Get more Fiber on Keto
If you find yourself at the store unable to remember the fiber content of your favorite keto foods, here are some helpful hints.
1. Choose green vegetables
If it’s a vegetable, and it’s green, it’s likely a pretty good candidate for a fiber source. Still, being a bit more educated on higher fiber fare in veggie form can come in handy. Avocados and brussel sprouts top the list in terms of most fiber for a 1 cup serving. Take note of these other green veggie options: broccoli, zucchini, kale, spinach, romaine, artichoke. Fresh salads are an easy way to incorporate many of these leafy greens.
Skip the green juice
At first thought, green juicing might sound like a good avenue for upping your green veggie game; however, the juicing process eliminates the fiber since the fiber-filled skin and pulp are tossed aside.
Grab a green smoothie
If you love green veggies through a straw, consider going green in the smoothie department. Use an avocado for a creamy base and a bunch of fiber. Add frozen cauliflower, broccoli, spinach or other leafy green and a tablespoon or two of chia seeds. Zucchini is another green, fiber-filled vegetable that lends a creamy texture to smoothies without an overpowering veggie taste. However, be sure to measure and manage your portions here and not going over your unique carb tolerance.
Cook down your greens
A better option is to skip the straw, and just cook down your greens in a skillet. Spinach, kale and collard greens are excellent choices. You’ll be getting almost 8g of fiber from 1 cup of cooked collard greens , 4g from spinach and 5g from kale. Cook greens down with a bit of olive oil or chicken broth, to get both flavor and fiber.
2. Swap high carb foods with fiber-rich vegetables
Here are some easy food changes to get more fiber on keto:
Cauliflower rice: Consisting of only cauliflower cut into small rice-sized bites, this product has become widely available at grocery stores nationwide. Check your freezer and refrigerator sections. Use this as a rice replacement or just throw it in a skillet of browned meat, add chicken broth and make faux mashed potatoes, mix with flax and eggs to form a pizza crust or add a bit to thicken a green smoothie or soup. Go the DIY route by using a food processor and the top of a fresh head of cauliflower. Process until desired consistency.
Broccoli rice: This is the same concept as the cauliflower rice mentioned above, but it uses broccoli. Consider stirring in your egg mixture when baking egg muffins.
Zucchini noodles: Also known as “zoodles,” these long strands of zucchini can be used in place of spaghetti. Toss in olive oil on a skillet with fresh basil, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Many stores carry pre-cut zoodles, or you can make your own by using a spiralizer.
Avocado pudding: All it takes is some beautifully ripe avocados, some blueberries and a bit of collagen or Bone Broth Protein powder.
3. Pick fibrous snacks
Not only are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries delicious, they also contain vitamins A, C, K and B. A single cup of most berries offers around 8 g of fiber, too.
Dried unsweetened coconut flakes are an unsweetened, fiber-filled treat. One cup of dried coconut flakes offers 7.2 g of fiber as well as selenium, folate and manganese.
3 Ways to Enjoy Coconut Flakes: Freezer, Bag, Skillet
Snack on them straight from the bag, or toss some in the freezer for an added crunch. Alternatively, add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in a skillet with 2 cups of large unsweetened coconut flakes. Add 1 tsp of cinnamon (or more if you’d like) and a dash of sea salt. Toast on medium high. This is delicious served warm right off the skillet or cooled off a day later.
Coconut and Berries Make a Winning Fiber Treat
Take a ½ c frozen berries, heat on low and top with coconut flakes for a yummy treat full of fiber and a lovely crunch.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds can be a nutritious, fiber-filled option for a ketogenic eating template. Those trying to lose inflammation and unwanted weight or who are sensitive to nuts might try opting for raw or dry roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed or hemp hearts. If nuts aren’t a problem for you, try almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans or the keto-friendly macadamia nut. These buttery-rich nuts are delicious, filling, a good monounsaturated fat source and have a low carbohydrate count.
A keto diet can be a fiber-rich diet
Don’t sacrifice your fiber intake on a low carb, ketogenic diet. Instead, opt for these fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and seeds.
- What fiber-rich vegetables are you already eating? What fiber-rich food would you like to add in this week? Add it to your shopping list. Or download the free Keto Fiber Foods Checklist pdf.
- How much fiber are you eating a day? Use a tracker like MyFitnessPal to calculate daily consumption. Take an average for a week. How does your intake compare to the 20-30 g recommendation?
- Having trouble crafting the perfect ketogenic diet? Set up a consult today to find your unique carb tolerance and ideal eating plan.
- Lugavere, M. & Grewal, P. (2018) Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier and More Productive While Protecting your Brain. Harper Wave.
- “Making one change — getting more fiber — can help with weight loss ….” 9 Apr. 2015, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-one-change-getting-fiber-can-help-weight-loss-201502177721. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
- “Fiber – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.” https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/fiber. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
- Dietary Fiber Intake and Risk of First Stroke – AHA Journals.” https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.000151. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
- “Could More Dietary Fiber Reduce Food Allergies? | The Kids Doctor.” http://www.kidsdr.com/could-more-dietary-fiber-reduce-food-allergies. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.
- “High dietary fiber intake linked to health promoting … – ScienceDaily.” 29 Sep. 2015, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150929070122.htm. Accessed 7 Mar. 2019.