Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 "A high-fiber diet appears to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including heart diseasediabetes, diverticular disease, constipation and colon cancer. Fiber is important for the health of the digestive system and for lowering cholesterol."

                     --University of California San Francisco (

Are you getting about 35 grams of dietary fiber a day? Or less? The fact is that most Americans consume nowhere near enough fiber to prevent diseases.

When we eat enough fiber, everything just works better. The plumbing, that is. Our digestive system, to be specific.  Yes, I am talking about bowel movements.

I will never forget one of my wake-up calls about the dietary fiber problem in this country.  I was asked to work with a parent whose child had only 1 bowel movement a week (not normal).   The child was complaining of chronic stomach pain and missed a lot of school.  

On another occasion I was asked to teach a series of nutrition workshops for kids who have been abused and/or neglected living in a residential shelter. I saw more evidence for the need for health literacy education for parents and those adults who are responsible for the care and well-being of children. What I observed was the adults who were buying food for the children in the shelter bought the cheapest bread.  It was also the bread with the least amount of dietary fiber. The staff would complain about kids eating an entire loaf of bread in a day.  No wonder, as bread made with refined wheat flour where the wheat bran has been stripped from the wheat to increase the shelf life has also been stripped of the dietary fiber that provides satiety and fills us up.  

As you increase the amount of fiber in what you choose to eat, remember it is important to increase the amount of water you drink. 

Dietary fiber plays a critical role in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and colon cancer.  Reading food labels to see how many grams are in a serving will help you make good decisions for you and your family. After all, we are Growing Healthy Kids, one child at a time! 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect