25 Best High Fiber Low Carb Foods

25 Best High Fiber Low Carb Foods

“25 Best High Fiber Low Carb Foods” was written by Nina Deuschle & edited/reviewed by Aly Bouzek, MS, RDN. Nina is a dietetic intern based out of Florida.

If you are following a low carb diet, it can be difficult to also If you are trying to follow a lower carb diet, it can feel difficult to fit plenty of fiber in. This is due to the fact that fiber is found in carbohydrate-containing foods.

The truth? We have access to plenty of foods that are high in fiber but not extremely high in carbohydrates!

Most people in the United States aren’t getting enough fiber. Experts estimate that the average American eats about 15 grams of fiber daily, which is significantly lower than the recommendation. (1)

Before we can discuss this issue and how it can be tackled, let’s start with the basics.

In this article, you will learn about:

What is a Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that exist in large amounts in the foods we eat. During digestion, our bodies eventually break down carbohydrates into glucose which can be used for energy. (2)

There are three main different types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches, and fiber. 

Sugars can come from refined sources as well as those that are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables.

Starches are complex carbohydrates. They include foods such as potatoes, corn, bread, cereal, and pasta. These take a bit more work for our bodies to break down and convert into sugar.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be broken down and absorbed by the body. Continue reading below for more information about this all-star nutrient.

carbohydrate

More About Fiber

Because our bodies can’t break down and absorb fiber, it passes through the digestive system. Fiber can get fermented by gut bacteria and eventually eliminated when you go to the bathroom. 

Why Does Fiber Matter?

We hear so much about fiber – but why is it important? It turns out that fiber has an impact on digestion, immune health, feelings of fullness, and regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol. (1)

fiber

Fiber and Digestion

The latest research into the gut microbiome suggests that gut health is a large part of the foundation of overall health.

Fiber acts as fuel for the good microbes that live in our gut.

Low carbohydrate diets may cause constipation if a focus isn’t placed on fiber-rich foods. Also, many low carb diets are built around foods that are lower in water content, contributing to constipation.

The good news? With minimal effort, your low carb diet can include plenty of fiber. Your gut will thank you for it!

To learn more about common issues related to digestion in the elderly, take a look at our blog post that discusses constipation

Fiber’s Role in Immune Health

The gut is an integral part of our immune system! Our intestines are home to a large percentage of our bodies’ immune cells. 

Therefore, a nutrient like fiber that contributes to a healthy gut microbiome, is likely one that will simultaneously support immunity.

Evidence points to the fact that consuming high-fiber foods encourages the growth of beneficial gut microbes – yet another reason to take a look at our list of 21 high fiber low carbohydrate foods.

Fiber and Fullness

Including fiber in your meals and snacks can make you feel fuller and more satisfied for a longer period of time after eating. Fiber adds bulk to your meals, so it is no surprise that it can aid in feelings of satisfaction!

Fiber and the Regulation of Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels

Eating fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. The result is a less dramatic spike in blood sugar and a lower need for insulin. This is how fiber plays a role in helping to manage blood sugar levels.

Dietary fiber can bind to cholesterol in the gut and interfere with absorption. The ability of fiber to reduce absorption of cholesterol means that it even helps with heart health. 

blood sugar

How Much Fiber Should I Be Eating?

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans for the years 2020-2025 identified fiber as one of the nutrients of public health concern for the country’s general population. (3) Low intakes are linked with health concerns. 

The guidelines recommend that women over 50 years old eat at least 22 grams of fiber per day. For men over 50, the recommendation is at least 28 grams of fiber per day.

Unsure if you’re getting enough fiber, or think you might be getting too much? Check out our blog post that discusses the signs of over- and under-consuming fiber.

How Much Carbohydrate Should I Be Eating?

While low carbohydrate diets are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to eat enough carbohydrates to nourish your body! Certain parts of our bodies, like our brain and red blood cells, prefer carbohydrate as fuel. 

The latest research typically defines a low carb diet as having <35% of calories from carbohydrate. This means that if you are eating a 2000 calorie/day diet, 700 calories will come from carbohydrates daily. 

This works out to be about 175 grams of carbs per day.

It is important to remember that safety hasn’t been evaluated for long term severe restrictions of carbohydrates. As always, we recommend that you work closely with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian if you are curious about starting a low carb diet.

Some people may want to avoid low carb diets even for the short term. This includes those of us with osteoporosis, kidney disease, and elevated LDL cholesterol levels. (4)

I’ve Heard About Net Carbs – What Are They?

If you have an interest in low carbohydrate diets, then you might have come across the phrase “net carbohydrates.” This refers to the amount of carbohydrate in a food that our body can actually break down and absorb for energy.

Why are net carbs relevant? The total carbohydrates in a particular food might seem high when you take a look at the nutrition facts label. 

However, if the food contains fiber, then those grams of carbohydrate can be removed from the total carbohydrate count to calculate net carbs.

To calculate the net carbohydrates in a food, start with total grams of carbohydrate and subtract grams of dietary fiber. See an example below:

This is a nutrition facts label for edamame.

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Per serving:

Total carbohydrate: 10 grams

Dietary fiber: 8 grams

Net carbs: 2 grams

The 25 Best High Fiber Low Carb Foods

Take a look at the 25 best high fiber low carb foods below! (5)

Collard Greens

In 1 cup raw, chopped:

Carbohydrates: 2 grams

Fiber: 1.4 grams

Mushrooms

In 1 cup, diced:

Carbohydrates: 2.3 grams

Fiber: 0.7 grams

Asparagus

In 5 spears:

Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Fiber: 1.7 grams

Broccoli

In 1 cup, chopped:

Carbohydrates: 6 grams

Fiber: 2.3 grams

Cauliflower

In 1 cup, chopped:

Carbohydrates: 5.5 grams

Fiber: 2.2 grams

Brussels Sprouts

In 8 sprouts:

Carbohydrates: 14 grams

Fiber: 6 grams

Green Beans

In 1 cup:

Carbohydrates: 7 grams

Fiber: 2.7 grams

Cabbage

In 1 cup:

Carbohydrates: 6.6 grams

Fiber: 1.9 grams

Artichokes

In 1 medium head:

Carbohydrates: 13 grams

Fiber: 7 grams

Avocado

In ⅓ of a medium avocado:

Carbohydrates: 5.6 grams

Fiber: 4.3 grams

Tomatoes

In 1 medium tomato:

Carbohydrates: 4.9 grams

Fiber: 1.5 grams

Raspberries

In 1 cup:

Carbohydrates: 17.8 grams

Fiber: 9.8 grams

Blackberries

In 1 cup:

Carbohydrates: 14 grams

Fiber: 8 grams

Almonds

In ¼ cup:

Carbohydrates: 7.2 grams

Fiber: 3.7 grams

Pistachios

In ¼ cup, shelled:

Carbohydrates: 8.8 grams

Fiber: 3.2 grams

Macadamia Nuts

In ¼ cup:

Carbohydrates: 4.2 grams

Fiber: 2.7 grams

Hazelnuts

In ¼ cup:

Carbohydrates: 5.6 grams

Fiber: 3.3 grams

Chia Seeds

In 2 tablespoons:

Carbohydrates: 12 grams

Fiber: 10 grams

Flaxseed

In 2 tablespoons:

Carbohydrates: 6 grams

Fiber: 5.6 grams

Edamame

In ½ cup, shelled:

Carbohydrates: 6.9 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Lentils

In ½ cup cooked:

Carbohydrates: 17.3 grams

Fiber: 6.8 grams

Wheat Bran

In 1/2 cup:

Carbohydrates: 18.7 grams

Fiber: 12.4 grams

Coconut (unsweetened)

In 3 tablespoons, shredded:

Carbohydrates: 4 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Cacao nibs

In 3 tablespoons:

Carbohydrates: 11 grams

Fiber: 8 grams

Eggplant

In 1 cup, cooked:

Carbohydrates: 6 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

The 25 Best High Fiber Low Carb Foods Infographic

Try to mix and match your high fiber low carb foods to keep your meals interesting!

25 High Fiber Low Carb

Conclusion

Remember, you don’t need to sacrifice fiber in order to eat a diet low in carbs! Incorporate some of your favorite foods listed above and you’ll be well on your way to increasing your fiber intake.

Resources

  1. High Fiber Diet. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559033/.
  2. Carbohydrates. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15416-carbohydrates
  3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. USDA. ​​https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
  4. Recommendations Summary. Evidence Analysis Library. https://www.andeal.org/template.cfm?key=634&auth=1
  5. FoodData Central. USDA. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/

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