Tips for Incorporating Fiber into a Gluten-Free Diet

BIDMC Contributor

DECEMBER 13, 2018

Why is Fiber Important?

Fiber is essential for people with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free lifestyle. There are two types of fiber—soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, which helps bulk up your stool and guard against diarrhea. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and can be found in whole grain products. Incorporating healthy sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber will help improve intestinal motility and ensure that you are consuming an adequate amount of fiber and nutrients.

When consuming a diet rich in fiber, it is important to drink water throughout the day to prevent constipation. Consuming about eight (8-ounce) glasses per day is recommended for adults.

Great Sources of Soluble Fiber

  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Fruits (apples, pears, mangoes, papayas, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, prunes)
  • Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, okra)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Ground flax seeds and chia seeds

Great Sources of Insoluble Fiber

(Note: all grains must be labeled gluten-free, except rice)

  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Amaranth
  • Wild rice
  • Brown rice
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, soy nuts)
  • Chia seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables with skins and edible seeds

Tips to Increase Daily Fiber

  • Choose one of the “super-six” grains (quinoa, buckwheat, millet, teff, sorghum or amaranth) instead of relying only on rice, potato and corn products.
  • Sprinkle ground flax seed onto hot and cold GF cereals.
  • Mix together half a portion of whole grain brown rice with half a portion of amaranth, quinoa or teff and cook; be sure to increase the amount of cooking water accordingly.
  • Add cooked, dried beans to soups, salads and casseroles.
  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables rather than juices.
  • Choose fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber GF crackers for snacks.
  • Experiment with substituting whole GF grains into your favorite recipes.
Important to Note
  • Gluten-free grains: All gluten-free grains (quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, etc.) must be labeled gluten-free.
  • Nuts and seeds: all nuts and seeds should be labeled gluten-free.
  • Dried fruit: avoid dates rolled in oat flour.
  • Gluten-free oats: a great source of soluble fiber in the gluten-free diet. Tolerance depends on the individual. Talk to your celiac healthcare team to help you make an informed decision about when/if to add gluten-free oats to your diet.
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.