Focus on Fiber

Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

If we’re going to be honest about it, fiber is not one of those nutrients we get too excited about. Sure, we think about how it can fill our belly, control our appetite, and help us maintain an ideal weight (a message that many commercial diets rely on). But we don’t often think about the other reasons to consume fiber, where to find it, and how various fibers benefit you differently.

If you follow nutrition news, then you may know that fiber has been in the spotlight lately, which is exciting for dietitians like me. This attention is based on the FDA’s 2016 updates to Nutrition Facts labeling, which included two major changes to dietary fiber: (1) a new definition for “dietary fiber” and (2) an increase in the Daily Reference Value (DRV) from 25 grams to 28 grams.

A new definition for fiber?

No doubt that sounds confusing. However, in our present food industry, which includes a variety of foods with both natural and artificial fibers, a true definition became necessary. Natural fibers include those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Artificial (or synthetic) fibers are those that are manufactured. Under the new definition of fiber, only those synthetic fibers that benefit us (cellulose, guar gum, and more), can be included as part of the total fiber listed on the nutrition facts panel, while non-digestible fibers that don’t benefit us are excluded (inulin and others). What does this mean for you? You may notice in the coming months that, while the total carbohydrate in some of the processed foods you love (granola bars, cereals, etc.) may not change, the amount of fiber in the food will look different (likely lower).

While the new fiber definition may seem like the biggest change coming, the update to the DRV is also significant. The DRV is the amount that we should consume daily. You may be more familiar with the percent daily value (%DV), which is found on the nutrition facts panel. Hopefully you use the %DV to assess whether a food is high or low in a nutrient. As the DRV for fiber has increased, you may notice that the %DV on the foods you consume is lower since a serving of the food will be giving you less of your daily need, unless the serving size or ingredients are altered to match the new DRV.

These changes to fiber may be a bit confusing. If you are looking for more information or want to understand how these changes impact your personal diet, please reach out to me, your Pawling Hannaford dietitian. Visit for my schedule. You can also register for my free, upcoming webinar: Focus on Fiber by visiting

If you have questions about dietary changes you can make to lower your risk of heart disease or other diet related health conditions, reach out to me, your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian. Visit, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.


Enjoy this naturally fiber-rich recipe! Visit for a beautiful picture of this recipe and information about the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program.

Roasted Roots & Lentil Salad (3 Guiding Stars)


1 beet, peeled and cubed

2 carrots, peeled and cubed

1/2 T. olive oil

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

2 scallions, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1 c. lentils, cooked

1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 400º F.

Toss beets and carrots with oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender and slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Combine beets & carrots with remaining ingredients and lentils. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.