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Gluten-Free Blogs • Shelley Case Column

Getting Enough Fiber on the Gluten-Free Diet

Q: How do I get enough fiber in a gluten-free diet?

A: Eating enough fiber is very important for people with celiac disease. Dietary fiber is the part of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils) that cannot be broken down by the digestive tract.

Fiber helps maintain regular bowel movements, often a cause of trouble for people with celiac. Some celiacs suffer with diarrhea before their diagnosis, but the intestinal damage heals after they are on a gluten-free diet. The diarrhea stops, but at times, constipation develops.

Other celiac sufferers may have experienced constipation prior to diagnosis, and find it gets worse once they’re on a gluten-free diet. In both cases, the constipation is a result of eliminating the foods they used to eat with high fiber: wheat bran, whole wheat breads and cereals.

Unfortunately, many gluten-free foods are made with starches and refined flours that are low in fiber, such as white rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch and potato starch. The good news is there are many excellent gluten-free alternatives to whole wheat and wheat bran that are high in fiber.

Next: List of flours and fiber content