Recent Blog Articles

Child & Teen Health

When it comes to fiber, cereal fiber may be your best choice

February 25, 2011
  • By Kay Cahill Allison, Former Editor, Harvard Health

About the Author

photo of Kay Cahill Allison

Kay Cahill Allison, Former Editor, Harvard Health

Kay Cahill was editor of Harvard Health Publishing’ Special Health Reports from 1998 to 2012. Before joining Harvard Health, she created content for a variety of media including newspapers, television, books, radio, and electronic publishing. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Kay Cahill Allison


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


February 2, 2012

I find it interestingly that pretty much all of the non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the ones that are highest in both fiber and nutrients! Great Article – Thanks!

Barb Hutchins
August 4, 2011

I have always loved the high fibre foods..grew up with homemade oatmeal bread, add wheat germ and wheat bran to cereals, etc., We eat 3-4 vegetables with dinner meal and 4 oz portion of meat. However during the past 5 weeks I have had serious painful,diarrhea, etc. and have survived on the BRATT diet. Now I am advised I have been eating way too much fibre, and for the next two weeks absolutely no wheat products, dairy, coffee, tea (de-caf included)..almost what looks like a gluten-free diet to me.
I am allowed white rice, rice cakes, some vegetables, fruit. What is happening here. Why did my high fibre diet suddenly trigger this diviticulosis-like problem. I have heard the a paper was given at a Physicians Conference this past month, by a Harvard staff member that addressed the exact diet I have been put on.
I’ll appreciate any answers. B

Cathy Ochs
May 13, 2011

I have found that a bit of searching for high fibre breads these days, can reveal some really tasty high fibre products which taste absolutely delicious.

Diet, Health and Beauty
April 7, 2011

thanks for such informative post

Richard Kawane
April 4, 2011

Great Article, I want nothing more than to ensure that my whole family are healthy inside and out. Lately I have read so much about the importance of whole food fiber and this article is another great example. We have taken to brown rice and wholemeal and multi-grain breads and wholemeal pasta. Th change took a little getting used to for the kids, but they understand it is for their best.
[URL removed by moderator]

Cheok Joe
March 20, 2011

Thanks for your interesting post on adding fiber to our diet. Understand grains do contain a harmful substance called gluten, how about Quinoa? I read that it is gluten-free.

Kay Cahill Allison
March 3, 2011

Yes, We need more good recipies and ideas for using whole grains. And we all need to get used to chewing our food a bit more, just like those early humans who ate food as nature made it.

Maria Speck
March 2, 2011

This study invites us to give whole grains a prominent place at our tables. But how to cook whole grains is still a mystery to many people — my upcoming cookbook “ANCIENT GRAINS FOR MODERN MEALS” invites you to explore their many flavors and textures with 100 Mediterranean-inspired recipes, personal stories and lots of background. I was raised in Greece and Germany, and have a lifelong passion for bulgur, wheat berries, and dark German breads made with whole grain rye flour. Now, they taste even better!

Nick Pokoluk
March 1, 2011

How about sweet potatoes, red beets, corn and carrots? I love all these and I have heard differing comments on their value vis-a-vis higher glycemic index.

Kay Cahill Allison
March 1, 2011

Sweet potatoes, red beets, and carrots are all really great sources of nutrients. But if we’re talking about fiber, the newest science says fiber from grains (cereal fiber) not vegetables makes the biggest impact on health. Of course new studies are always coming out.

Clara Silverstein
March 1, 2011

Interesting that cereal seems so healthy but other foods might be a better choice for fiber. My son and I found an old cookbook and made cornmeal mush this summer – I wonder how that stacked up!

Kay Cahill Allison
March 1, 2011

Stone ground cornmeal is a good start, but corn meal in general doesn’t have nearly as much fiber as some other whole grains. Try steel cut oats with 8 grams per serving compared with 3 grams for cornmeal.

Mike Hague
February 26, 2011

Read the study carefully, cofounding variables, The fiber-lovers were almost twice as likely to be vigorous exercisers (working out more than three hours a week), were much less likely to smoke, had lower intakes of alcohol, and were generally more educated than those with the lowest fiber intake; the researchers failed to account for poor living conditions and socioeconomic status, both of which are huge contributors to infectious and respiratory disease. Grains in our diet 10,000 years old, our digestive system 2 million years+ to evolve….hello

Joya Ganguly
August 29, 2011

Staying away from hype filled diets is one sure way to keep a healthy balance between losing pounds and staying fit. Trying different health products including weight gain teas to stay healthy might be a workable alternative. Regards for a well structured informational guide.

February 26, 2011

Grains contain a substance called gluten. Which is very harmful to the body. Gluten is known to cause many Autoimmune disorders. Gluten is the CAUSE of Chron’s disease, you can not fight Chron’s by eating whole grains. You MUST eliminate them completely. Gluten, found in all grains, inflames your body. When you have problems like RA, when you eat grains, its like throwing gas on a fire, you are just making it worse. The diet that would best suit people suffering from these ailments is a ANTI-INFLAMMATORY diet, like vegetables, grass fed meat, and eating a lot of good fats; olive oil, salmon, raw almonds, avocados. I have seen many improvements in peoples lives when getting off gluten. From loosing 10 lbs, to regaining energy and vitality. By eliminating that that crutch (gluten) from your life. You will notice a significant change.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.