When we are training, we tend to focus on protein for muscles, carbs and fats for fuel and little else.  Fibre is one aspect of the diet that can be missed – especially if you are heading down the low carb route.  Does it matter? 


Fibre and Performance


Fibre can impact on performance in a number of ways.  A slow and sluggish digestion can rob your body of the energy it needs to function, not to mention leaving you feeling less than light.  Fibre is also an important part of a balanced diet - helping to reduce risks of heart disease and diabetes among others.  Fibre helps to slow the release of sugars into your blood – helping to avoid sugar highs and slumps.


It is not unusual to meet athletes who are eating very little fibre – often without realising it.  The average person living in Ireland is missing out on fibre – almost 80% of us do not meet fibre targets.  One of the big issues when it comes to fibre is that people often think there is more fibre in food than is actually there.  Salad might be one place to get a little fibre but would you believe you would have to eat about five pounds of lettuce per day to get the fibre you need?


What foods Are High In Fibre?



So where do we look for fibre?  Few foods have large amount of fibre, so you need to add in lots of fibre-containing foods over the day to get what you need.  We need 25-35g of fibre everyday.



Fibre per serving

1 bowl high fibre breakfast cereal (6g fibre or more per 100g)


1 piece of fruit


Serving of vegetables (3 dessertspoons)


1 dessertspoon of seeds


½ tin chickpeas


1 slice wholegrain bread


1 baked potato eaten with the skin


Handful of mixed nuts


1 Serving brown rice




How to Get Fibre into Your Diet


So to get 25g of fibre per day, aim to have some high fibre foods at every meal.  Seeds are a great option to add to salads, cereals and yoghurt.  Choose wholegrain or high fibre cereals, breads and grains.  Make sure you get at least 5-a-day from fruit and vegetables and try more meals based on beans and lentils. 


Try this recipe that combines lots of fruit and vegetables with spicy tuna to make a fantastic, high fibre lunch Spicy Tuna Taco Salald with peach salsa recipe



Sarah Keogh

Consultant Nutritionist - MSc., BSc., MINDI

Sarah has a degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Trinity College and a Masters in European Food Regulation. 

She runs a food and nutrition consultancy giving one-to-one advice on nutrition and diet as well as working with some of Ireland's leading food companies.