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Nutritionally Speaking

Adding Fiber While Staying Slim

June 09, 1988|TONI TIPTON

The American Cancer Society has suggested that consumers increase their intake of dietary fiber while simultaneously avoiding obesity. But a recent Nutritionally Speaking column focusing on this and other Cancer Society recommendations ("Healthful Diet Choices Reduce Risk of Cancer," April 28) generated reaction that shows many people still believe these are contradictory goals.

The story included the society's dietary guidelines, the first of which encourages consumers to maintain a diet that includes at least 20 grams of fiber each day. It listed some examples of the fiber content of foods and encourages the addition of whole grain breads, bran cereals, brown rice, beans, potatoes and pasta to the daily diet.

Common Misconception

In response, a reader writes: "I do not know how to do both, as all of the foods you list, with the possible exception of bran cereals, are fattening."

The truth is that high-carbohydrate foods are not always fattening. It is the sauces, toppings and other accompaniments Americans have chosen to include on menus with them that tally high-calorie and -fat scores.

Carbohydrate-rich diets (made up of foods that are complex carbohydrates, not simple carbohydrates such as table sugar) are highly recommended by the Cancer Society as well as many other health-oriented organizations. Carbohydrates supply only 4 calories of energy per gram (fat carries 9 calories per gram).

Ordinary Ingredients

The most efficient way to return high-fiber foods to the diet is to develop uses for ordinary ingredients like wheat bran, broccoli, cabbage and dried fruits that combine them with low-fat varieties of favorite ingredients such as cottage cheese, yogurt, meat and poultry.

The sandwich has always been a popular luncheon item, but because of high-fat ingredients such as mayonnaise, deli meats, cheese and bread, it is often omitted from a dieter's list of acceptable menu selections. The sandwiches that follow all use a high-fiber, low-fat quick bread made with bran flakes and feature a wide array of healthy toppings.


1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup nonfat milk

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups bran flakes cereal

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Combine eggs, milk and honey and add to flour mixture. Add butter and mix well. Fold in cereal. Pour into greased 8x4-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees 65 to 70 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, wrap in waxed paper, aluminum foil or plastic and store at room temperature. Makes 16 slices.


4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sliced green onions

4 slices Bran Cereal Bread


4 (1-ounce) slices smoked turkey breast or lean roast beef

1 (8-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained

Combine cream cheese and green onions. Spread evenly on Bran Cereal Bread slices. Top with lettuce leaf, turkey and pineapple. Garnish with additional green onion, if desired. Makes 4 servings, about 270 calories each.


1 apple, peeled and grated

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


4 slices Bran Cereal Bread

Combine apple, cottage cheese and nuts. Mix well. Place lettuce leaf on bread and spoon topping over. Makes 4 servings, about 220 calories each.


1 cup bean sprouts

1/4 cup chopped, seeded cucumber

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds


4 slices Bran Cereal Bread

Combine sprouts, cucumber, raisins, yogurt, parsley and seeds in bowl and mix well. Place watercress on Bran Cereal Bread and spoon on topping. Makes 4 servings, about 190 calories each.


1 (8-ounce) low-fat cream cheese

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2 tablespoons orange juice

4 slices Bran Cereal Bread

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 banana, sliced

Combine cream cheese, orange peel and juice. Spread evenly on Bran Cereal Bread. Top with poppy seeds and banana slices. Makes 4 servings, about 310 calories.

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