Constipation (having trouble passing stool) is common in people who have celiac disease. Some people have constipation when they’re diagnosed with celiac disease. Some don’t have constipation until they start eating a gluten-free diet. Fiber can help ease constipation. Get helpful tips on how to add more fiber to your gluten-free diet, and ideas on types of foods that can help you eat more fiber.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber is a nutrient in food that helps keep your stomach and intestines healthy. Fiber comes from plants, like grains, vegetables and fruits, and has many important jobs in your body. Fiber helps move food through your stomach and intestines and helps make stools (easier to pass. It also helps you pass stool more regularly.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat Every Day?
Adults and teens should eat 25-35 grams of fiber every day. Children over age 2 should eat grams of fiber equal to their age plus 5. You can find out how much fiber is in your food by reading the nutrition label. Be sure to look at the serving size on the nutrition label too.
It’s important to add more fiber to your diet slowly. Adding fiber too quickly can make you feel gassy and have stomach pain.
How Can I Add More Fiber to My Diet?
- Use whole-grain, gluten-free flours and grains. See the chart “Whole-Grain, Gluten-Free Flours and Grains” on the back of this handout for ideas on which types of whole-grain, gluten-free flours and grains you can try. You can also look for gluten-free food that has whole-grain, gluten-free flours and grains in it.
- Have beans as a side dish with your meals. You can also add beans to salads. See the “Types of Beans” on the back of this handout for types of beans and how much fiber is in each.
- Add chopped, dried fruit to cookies, muffins, pancakes or bread before baking. Dried fruit has fiber that can help ease constipation.
- Eat brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. If it’s hard to switch from white rice, try mixing brown or wild rice with white rice.
- Add rice bran to recipes. You can also add rice bran to gluten-free cereals or on top of yogurt. Rice bran has 1.5 grams of fiber per serving. Some brands you can find in the grocery store are Ener-G®, Bob’s Red Mill®, El Peto® and Kinnickkinnick®.
- Eat 5 servings or more of fruits and vegetables every day. Make sure to include fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. See the “Fruits and Vegetables with Fiber” chart on the back for fruits and vegetables and how much fiber is in each.
- Snack on nuts and seeds. A ¼ cup of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts or almonds has 3-4 grams of fiber. Note:Don’tgive children under age 4 nuts or seeds. Children under 4 can choke on nuts and seeds.
- Add fiber supplements to your diet. A fiber supplement is a pill or powder you mix with water to add fiber to your diet. See the “Fiber Supplements” chart on the back of this handout for different fiber supplements and how much fiber is in each.
Where Can I Learn More About Adding Fiber to My Gluten-Free Diet?
- The Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Gluten-Free: The Definitive Resource Guide by Shelly Case
- Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, 3rd edition by Tricia Thompson
- Wheat-Free Recipes and More by Carol Fenster, PhD.
Whole-Grain, Gluten-Free Flours and Grains
|Flour or grain||Grams of fiber per cup|
|Indian ricegrass (Montina®)||36|
|Garbanzo (chickpea) flour||21|
|Garfava (garbanzo/chickpea and fava bean) flour||12|
Fruits and Vegetables with Fiber
|Fruit or vegetable||Serving size||Grams of fiber per serving|
|Sweet potato (medium)||1 whole||3-4|
|Carrots (cooked)||1 cup||3-4|
Types of Beans
|Bean||Grams of fiber per cup|
|Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)||15|
|Supplement||Active ingredient||Grams of fiber per serving|
|Fibersure®||Inulin||5 grams per heaping teaspoon|
|Psyllium||3 grams per teaspoon|
|Metamucil® Smooth||Psyllium||3 grams per tablespoon|
|Citrucel®||Methylcellulose||2 grams per heaping tablespoon|