Chapter 12: “Doc, how about fibre?”

Too much fibre will do no harm. A diet high in fibre is highly recommended. The benefits of having a high fibre are many. The important ones are that a high fibre diet protects against colon cancer, better sugar control in diabetics, reduces blood cholesterol, and controls weight.Papua New are abundant with foods high in fibre. The choice is not so easy in a supermarket. When shopping, foods such as bread, cereals and other products containing more than 5% of dietary fibre sho

Trying to read food labels while shopping can be time-consuming and difficult. As with all guidelines, there are exceptions. Some foods may not include any be excluded using the guidelines yet they may be considered a healthy choice by other standards. Exercise your own discretion when making choices. The key points to remember are:

  • Check the nutritional panel for amounts of fat, sugars, sodium and fibre.
  • Compare different products ‘per 100 g’.
  • Check the ingredients listed on the nutritional panel is listed in decreasing order so look for products with sources of fat and sugar lower down on the list.
  • Be aware about hidden fats (shortening, lard, tallow, coconut oil and palm oil) added sugars (glucose, sucrose, syrups, molasses and modified carbohydrate) and hidden salt (monosodium glutamate, meat and vegetable extracts, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and stock cubes.

Below is a table that can be used as a quick guide. Remember to look at the ‘per 100 g’ column, not the ‘per serve’ column.

Nutrient Per 100g










Aim for less than 10 g per 100g

Milk and yoghurt, aim for less   than 2 g per 100g

Oils and margarines are all   high in total fat (more than 10 g per 100g) so choose polyunsaturated and   monounsaturated

Aim for low as possible

Aim for low as possible;   margarines with less than 1 g per 100g

Carbohydrates (sugars) Aim for less than 10 g per 100g

For foods containing fruits aim   for less than 25 g per 100g

Dietary fibre For breads and cereals aim for   more than 5g per 100g
Sodium (salt) Aim for less than 400mg per   100g. If possible less than 120mg per 100g. Look for ‘No salt added’,   ‘Salt reduced’, or ‘Low salt’ labels.



About rodney itaki

I am a medical doctor from Papua New Guinea. My posts focuses on current and emerging health issues in PNG.
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