Doctor's Note

I love doing these practical day-to-day decision type videos. If you go to the grocery store and find products that fit the 5 to 1 ratio rule, please share them in a comment below. They aren’t easy to find!

Eating fiber rich foods is more than just avoiding constipation. For example, watch my videos Fiber vs. Breast Cancer and How to Prevent a Stroke.

There’s this misconception that we can’t digest fiber. We can’t do it alone, but we can with a little help from our little gut flora friends. See Prebiotics: Tending Our Inner Garden.

But that’s not to downplay all the suffering caused by constipation. Feel free to check out How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have Every Day? and Should You Sit, Squat, or Lean During a Bowel Movement?

Isn’t this talk of fiber reductionistic? Good question! So good, in fact, that I did a whole video about it. Is the Fiber Theory Wrong? is queued up next.

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  • Wade Patton

    They sugar-up those loaf breads too. HFC, molasses, sugar…completely unnecessary. Loaf bread (what is available in my area) tends to be more cake-like than real bread. Make your own.

    • uma7

      Yea Ezekiel bread is the only one I can find without sugar. I feel bad for people that live in poor neighborhoods that can’t even buy bread for their family without sugar in it.

      • Mike Quinoa

        In Toronto you can buy Dempster’s 100% Whole Grain Seed Lover’s bread without sugar. It’s very tasty, but there are some added “chemicals.”

        • Raisin Jar

          I buy Sha Sha Co. Ezekial loaf in Toronto. 22g carbohydrates, 4g fibre. So just over 5. And the ingredients are: organic whole wheat flour, filtered water, organic sourdough from spelt flour, filtered water and bacterial culture, organic whole spelt flour, organic sunflower seed, organic chia, whear, sea salt, flax, spelt, rye, organic millet, barley, oats, lentils.

          Note, the items that I did not write organic on are actually organic and sprouted!

          These loaves are expensive but they are so filling I eat only one slice instead of two.

          • Mike Quinoa

            Hi Raisin Jar,

            I’ve found a store at Warden & Lawrence that carries your bread, and I will check it out. Thanks.

          • ron

            I see more calories for a slice of these good breads are between 80 and 100 and the slice may be cut larger than you would like.

      • HaltheVegan

        Yes, I grew up in a poor family in a poor neighborhood. I remember how my mother would always bake her own bread using whole grain flour. But she would have to walk several miles to get it. But then again, she was always a very industrious lady. Looking back, I’m so glad she did, though. I’m sure it helped me grow up healthier.

      • Wade Patton

        They can buy flour and yeast and water. It’s just not that difficult.

        • Paul

          Right, especially if you have two jobs just to make ends meet, children to raise, no car or less than stellar public transportation, etc. It’s a cinch.

          • Wade Patton

            Simple food is much cheaper and can reduce the grocery budget needs. More food less money, kids need to learn how to prepare food too. Old skewl.

      • Jeff Salisbury

        Glycemic index — Ezekiel 4:9 Bread – 2 slices toast (dry) = 72 … 3/4 cup bran flakes = 74 (add 34 more for 1 tsp sugar) Snickers bar = 68 … stop eating grains

        • Mike Quinoa

          Hi Jeff, what’s the glycemic load for Ezekiel 4:9 bread? I think that’s a more useful parameter.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept of GI nor of the related concept, glycemic load, GL, a measure that also factors in the quantity of food. The problem is how the values for GI and GL are interpreted. For instance, categories of GI are arbitrarily broken down into:

            High glycemic index 70 or greater
            Moderate glycemic index 56-69
            Low glycemic index 55 or less

            This is like being a little bit more or less pregnant. By this scheme, cornflakes, puffed rice, and pretzels have “high“ GIs above 70, while whole grain bread, oatmeal, and rice have “low” GIs. A typical non-diabetic person consuming a typical serving of cornflakes, e.g., 1 cup cereal in ½ cup milk, will thereby experience a blood sugar in the neighborhood of 180 mg/dl—very high and more than sufficient to set the process of glycation and glucotoxicity on fire, add to adrenal disruption, cataract formation, destruction of cartilage, hypertension, heart disease, and neurological deterioration or dementia. (Blood sugars will vary, depending on body weight, degree of overweight, insulin sensitivity, time of day, and other factors, but this would be typical. Someone with pre-diabetes or diabetes will have a higher blood sugar.)

            How about a low-glycemic index food, such as a bowl of oatmeal, 1 cup cooked, in ½ cup milk? A typical response: blood sugar 170 mg/dl—lower, yes, but still quite awful, triggering all the same undesirable phenomena triggered by the high-glycemic cornflakes. This is why I believe “low” GI is more accurately labeled “less-high” GI, not “low.” Alternatively, we could just recognize that any GI above single digits should be regarded as high because it’s not until you get to single digits or zero that blood sugars no longer range into destructive levels.

            The concept of “glycemic load” tries to take this into account by factoring in portion size. Thus the GL of cornflakes is 23, while the GL of oatmeal is 13 and that of whole wheat bread is 10. GL is usually interpreted as:

            High glycemic load 20 or greater
            Moderate glycemic load 11-19
            Low glycemic load 10 or less

            Once again, this lulls you into thinking that foods like oatmeal or whole wheat bread don’t raise blood sugar—but they do. They are not low glycemic load; they have less high glycemic loads.

            The value that truly appears to count and predict whether or not we will have a blood sugar rise? Grams of carbohydrate. Specifically, “net” grams of carbohydrate calculated by subtracting fiber:

            “Net” carbohydrates = total carbohydrates – fiber (from Dr. William Davis, cardiologist & author of the Wheat Belly diet)

          • baggman744

            Is there any real science behind the whole “net carbs” theory? There’s a fair amount of ongoing debate on the subject. I believe the net carbs theory first came from Atkins.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            Research on net carbs? Um. Yes. Diabetes has been studied for decades to help people determine what foods to eat and to determine how high and how fast blood sugar goes up after a meal. At first I thought maybe you were being facetious. Sorry. But back to your question, yes – the principle of net carbs predates the Atkins diet by decades since the causes, treatment and care for individuals with diabetes has been studied for decades. Now, a person who is not diabetic can also “count carbs” (Johns Hopkins for example is one of many institutions which offers diabetic education programs but there is no doubt a clinic in your area) and people can do so successfully to not only manage diabetes but also to lose weight. Or, a person (pre-diabetic, diabetic or not) can choose to eliminate all grains and all sugar (including those boxes and//or other prepared foods with grains and sugar added and watch the visceral fat deposits in the abdomen and on one’s body organs melt away along with the resultant edema and inflammation that comes with consuming both grains and sugars thereby avoiding repeated insulin spikes as the body does its best to tamp-down glucose levels, sometimes, sadly, to the point of becoming insulin resistant.

          • baggman744

            I’m not overweight, nor diabetic, however, this was the article that came to mind that seems to cause some confusion over the subject. Its a lot more complicated than just carbs – fiber = net carbs:

          • Mike Quinoa

            Jeff, the glycemic index of Ezekiel 4:9 bread is 36, not 72. Can’t find the glycemic load value for it though.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            36 – correct. I wrote 2 slices toast (dry) = 72 (2×36=72)

          • Jeff Salisbury

            For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. To keep them there… avoid all grains and sugars. No rise in sugar levels means no rise in insulin levels. Obviously the body needs to produce insulin to keep you from being diabetic, but repeated (and avoidable) high blood levels of insulin triggers obesity, can cause heart attacks, raises blood pressure and bad (small particle) cholesterol levels. Turns out it is easier and more prudent to simply eliminate grains and sugar altogether.

          • Mike Quinoa

            Are you advising not to eat whole grains as well? What do you recommend to eat to avoid insulin spikes?

          • Jeff Salisbury

            wheatbelly dot com

          • Mike Quinoa

            I’ve read his book, but I have no problems with carbs at all. My glucose is fine, and my HbA1c is at the very low end of the reference range. Dr. Davis seems to have a bit of a “wheat belly” himself.

          • Mike Quinoa

            Yes, but the quantity has nothing to do with a food’s glycemic index; that’s where the glycemic load comes in—quality and quantity considered together. So, the glycemic index of Ezekiel 4:9 bread is always 36.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            Okay… let me try to say this another way then… 1 slice of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar level – 2 slices as part of the same serving will raise further. The fact is that it’s a myth that whole grain bread is good for you because slice of whole grain bread will shoot your blood sugar up higher than a slice of white bread. More fiber than white bread? Yes but not enough to matter and besides my point here is that to maintain good health we’re trying to maintain steady body chemistry and maintain consistent glucose levels. I did find that the GL of 2 slices of whole wheat bread is 170. Look for this on a site named lowglycemicload dot com.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            BTW – no offense but I am done here.

          • baggman744

            Question: How does the serving size change the GI? Answer: it doesn’t! You have that wrong Jeff; you’ve confused GI with GL.

          • Jeff Salisbury

            Well no wonder I am confused. I never have to know the difference. See, here’s the great thing about eating no grains… no computing GI or GL. No counting calories either. What I end up counting is the loss of visceral fat and inflammation weight loss. I was 280 in August and am 240 in December – on my way to 210 which I’ve not weighed since I was 20 and that was 47 years ago. My Bp down from 160/100 to 120/80. I am off 2 of 4 hypertension meds. I am grateful not to have to compute the GI or GL nor apply the 5-to-1 fiber rule. This regimen is all about eliminating foods that negatively impact blood sugar levels and trigger insulin spikes. Based on my experience and that of others I’d certainly recommended this approach to healthy eating. This just could not be any easier.

      • Alan

        Ezekiel 4:9 bread is good bread !!!

        • Carol

          Not if you’re pre or diabetic. Forget it. I have to eat greens. No bread. No cereal.

          • Charzie

            Greens and veggies are always great, but don’t buy into the BS about avoiding carbs! On the contrary, (stay away from processed carbs for sure, and anything processed, but…) COMPLEX carbs can be 80%+ of your diet, it’s how I and many others reversed T2 diabetes.. Watch some of the videos here, or watch “Forks Over Knives” for an overview and explanation of the ideal diet for everyone, but especially people with illness. FAT is the issue in T2 diabetes, not carbs! Intramyocellular lipids…too much fat in your cells… blocks the ability of insulin to do it’s job of letting glucose into the cell for energy. It can’t get in, so it spills over into the blood and urine. Excess sugar is a symptom of diabetes, not the cause. Years of following even the American Diabetes Association diet got me nowhere but medicated, a low fat, high carb, whole food, plant based diet reversed all that in under 3 weeks, improved and eliminated a slew of health issues, and changed about everything for the better!

          • Carol

            I understand the diet, however, I cannot eat grains. Period.

        • I no longer purchase Ezekiel Breads, because their company, Food for Life, supports the Weston Price Foundation…



          • Nick Presidente

            Why on earth would they do that when their products aren’t supported by who they are supporting? Very odd

          • Yes, I find it odd too…

          • lilyroza

            Maybe because it was, it says on the site, “our grandfather” who started this successful company. I looked on the site though, and cou, dn’t find said link. Is it still there? Which page?

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            Interesting! Thanks for posting that info about The Weston Price Foundation.

          • Thanks for taking the time to check it out!

          • KT

            I read your website, and respectfully disagree. If I only purchased products from companies who shared my beliefs, I would be missing out on some quality products. I prefer to read the ingredient list and purchase accordingly. Ezekiel makes the best tasting and overall healthiest veggie burger buns I have found. So, if they want to support Weston Price, that won’t influence me. I buy Ezekiel from Azure, a large natural foods co-op that I share no beliefs with (either religious or the food they personally seem to eat based on the recipes they publish). But I’m still willing to buy the products they sell that are what I’m looking for because their prices are better. And also because I’m ok with knowing that there are many different beliefs out there, and that doesn’t threaten me. My friends are a varied mix when it comes to beliefs and food habits, and I’ve even gotten emails supporting Weston Price from a few.

          • That’a cool, I’m glad you are able to compartmentalize like that. I do too on most things. We all do. And, I would do it with Food for Life too if they didn’t praise their vegan customers on the one hand and then contribute to an organization that is practically antithetical to vegan beliefs. I think we all have varied friends of different persuasions. I’d probably not be able to have long time friends if I was only friends with vegans. However, if a friend said one thing to my face and then something quite different to others behind my back I’d find it difficult to remain in relationship with that person…just like Food for Life.

            Wishing you well,

          • Paul

            Agreed. We all do the best we can to avoid the really crappy companies, but some of them make it easy because their beliefs aren’t hidden. I don’t shop at Whole Foods because Mackey’s an anti-union jerk. You don’t need to buy stuff at Whole Unionbusters to eat WFPB.

            I never liked the Ezekiel bread personally but I sometimes keep a loaf around in the freezer for friends who come over. It seems to be popular toasted, I think the stuff is rank.

          • Great point Paul!

      • Charzie

        Bread is the easiest and cheapest thing you can make at home, and the absolute best way to do it healthfully. With a simple sourdough you just stir together flour, water, your starter and a bit of salt, the night before, (and whatever other ingredients you’d like to add) no kneading or effort involved, cover and let rise overnight. In the morning, plop it into your baking pan, let it rise again until you come home from work, (if you do) and then bake it off for 30-45 minutes to have it hot for the evening meal if you want. Five minutes of actual work, if that, is involved. There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of fresh baked bread and it’s so easy there is no reason to have to buy the processed fake “styrofoam” rubbish wrapped in plastic and full of chemicals and other undesirables. I used to think making bread was a big, involved, and time consuming chore, but it’s truly effortless if done this traditional way! You don’t even have to purchase a starter, you can make your own easily…though the quality can vary, it’s a kick to try! Great for raising non gluten flours too, it that’s an issue. I currently have almost no income, so I’m all about cheap, effective options, especially when they are easy too! I’ve even contrived a “solar oven” (from stuff you can get at the dollar store), to bake and cook with, cobbled together a solar dehydrator, grow a productive little garden, whatever I need! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? LOL Lots of directions, google will help!

        • Thea

          Charzie: I was telling my mom about how you make your own sauerkraut. She’s very interested. I’m sure there’s a ton of info out there, but you have obviously done some research on this. Would you mind sharing again that ‘how-to’ link? I may be miss-remembering, but I thought you had previously shared a recommended link on how to make sauerkraut. Thanks!

          • Charzie

            Hi Thea, probably my favorite website that makes it all pretty straightforward is here:
   (Watch her “My Story” video, pretty intense). She has many variations of kraut too, just do a search once you are there. Good luck and happy bubbling!

          • Thea

            Charzie: Thank you so much! This is great!! I’m going to check it out too. :-)

          • YaYa K

            One of the ‘authorities’ on fermented foods like sauerkraut is Sandor Katz-look around, his book is an absolute gem! You can find him at

          • Thea

            YaYa K: This site looks awesome. I’m forwarding this one to my mom too. Thanks!!

          • Charzie

            Sandor is my absolute idol! I would LOVE to hang out with him for even a day and acquire some of his expertise and extensive knowledge! He really drives home how traditional and important ferments were to various cultures around the world, and how sad it is that we have essentially lost it, which is why he refers to himself as a “fermentation revivalist”. I’ve read all his books and am trying to decide which one I need to own. (I want them all!) You’ve probably seen this awesome video since you’ve been to his site, but anyone who fears attempting fermentation needs to see how it’s always been done! Pretty earthy!


        • Robert

          Have u tried “square foot ” gardening by Mel Bartholomew? (Sp?)

          Mel’s Mix is expensive (about $15.00/ cubic foot) but “compost” is supposed to work. Mel says all u need is 6″ deep, but u need the volume to hold the moisture: 6″s dries out too quickly.

          Best done in plastic containers. 5 gallon buckets r “free” if u look for them. Landscaping companies and nurseries have a mountain of black buckets they will probably give u, probably look better than white 5 gallon buckets. Drill 1/8″ diameter holes in the bottom to drain water. Max diameter size or the worms will crawl out. If u can find the top so much the better: cut a hole n the top about two inches smaller n diameter then the diameter of the bucket. For some reason worms like to escape once n a while. Don’t think they can climb upside down. They get a wild hair once n a while or maybe just don’t like being n jail. Imagine that.

          6″ square grid concrete steel reinforcing wire mesh, rolled small enough to fit inside the bucket, while a bear to work with, works much better than commercial tomato cages and should last for your grand kids.

          Find the sunniest place n your yard, rake it, hose it well, dump coffee grounds and veggie scraps, put some cardboard down, wet it well, put the bucket on the cardboard, water about twice a week. This is a great WORM MAGNET: worms love cardboard for some reason, they go crazy over it and thrive. Look under the cardboard weekly and put your FREE (Mel loves the four letter F word) worms in your bucket. Add your veggie scraps but cover with compost to keep the bugs away.

          I have lost my green thumb, my tomatoes were a complete disaster, the bugs ate all my beans but my winter wheatgrass is thriving. Next year I will try butterfly weeds, cherry tomatoes, peppers, maybe corn (I love to eat it raw, maybe I could train my tomatoes to grow up the cornstalk?)


          • Charzie

            LOL, thanks for the info, pretty similar to what I’m doing, and I do have a fat healthy compost going that should be ready for the next planting, and been slowly amassing a bunch of worms for vermiculture. Composting machines…you feed them garbage and they poop out nutrients for your soil. This is the first year trying to grow stuff in our anemic Florida sand, so I just amended the “soil” where I wanted to plant this year with leaf litter and pine straw from the woods next door, and appropriated some manure from a nearby farm and made a big garbage can full of compost “tea”, and so far so good! My tomato “cages” are pretty rudimentary…four long sticks with string wound through them. Works though! I planted some cute little yellow pear heirloom tomatoes from seed that are bearing in no time! Crazy. I am giving up with vines though, the worms and borers here are vicious! I did plant some annual standard veggies but I am having fun experimenting with all the great perennial plants that will grow here, working to get a permaculture set up and mimic natural systems instead of your typical organized garden space…the whole yard becomes a food forest…little by slow! My butterfly garden is probably the only true ornamentals, my other “flower beds” are ornamental FOOD, like rainbow chard, fennel and dill, nasturtiums (they are not just pretty but tasty)flax and nigella and those cool cabbages that look like flowers, purple basil, and on and on. A lot of work but great exercise. My back hates me though! Before I could pretty much only grow sprouts and microgreens, and some herbs and salad greens in pots on the lanai, because then I could barely get around, crippled with arthritis, overweight, diabetic, just sick! Wish I knew about WFPB a long time ago, but even so, I’ve made a pretty amazing recovery!

          • Fred

            Was buying some soil mix each spring…but the cheap stuff can be just a mix of human sewage sludge and sand….as long as the nitrogen content hits a certain level. So I got the wise idea of collecting leaves each fall and using a push mower to shred them…put in a wire “basket” on the ground and you have compost by next spring. Cleanest compost you could find (?)…but a bit of expensive blood meal might help?

            Also use an old plastic trash can (uncovered) with a hole in the bottom for kitchen waste (no meat/bones)…worms come up from the ground each summer and go to town. I empty this out every few years….and start over.

            For yard waste other than leaves…I have a 3′ x 4′ fenced area where I put the small diameter or non-woody stuff…and let it compost itself down…haven’t cleaned this out for 5-6 years….still only 1/3 full.

            Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow for me and pretty productive….I tie them up on a fence.

        • jem

          Had to give up making yeast breads because of the yeast smell during proofing and rising. I changed to quick breads which are super easy to make using baking powder. The variety is endless. No real recipe necessary as long as the flour, baking powder and liquid ratios are kept, blackstrap molasses optional. Even at that the liquid amount can vary some and be fine. 2 Tbsp ground flax seed soaked in water 5+ min. helps texture and moisture.

          • lilyroza

            I avoid quick breads because of the high sodium content.

          • Charzie

            Funny, the one thing I MISS baking with sourdough is the yeast smell! Sourdough ferments the grains and increases the flavor and nutrition, but if I’m in a pinch, I’ll make a quick bread sometimes, mostly pancakes, waffles, dumplings, or a sweet bread, but not really fond of the texture of baking powder batter for loaves. I like a more hearty, chewy, grain and sprout filled loaf, which is what sourdough is good at creating.

        • vegank

          Hi Charzie,
          until I read your post I had always assumed that you have to buy a Starter from some specialty store so thank you for this recipe. Kneading bread dough(conventional bread) and waiting for proofing & the second proofing during the day isn’t always convenient but switching to sourdough bread makes it so much easier.

      • Ash Woodward

        My grocery store just started carrying Eureka! Grainiac and it tastes fantastic and meets the 5-1 rule. I’m fond of Ezekiel, but at least there are options now.

    • Slim055 .

      Here, too, I’ll second that. You can save some money if you source a local independent bakery for rye or wheat grain, or whole grain flour.

      • vmh

        Hey, thanks! Looks like a recipe goldmine.

      • Rebecca Cody

        I just don’t get the popularity of bread! I know it’s me, because everybody else in the world seems to be addicted to the stuff. I admit that one of the easiest lunches to prepare and pack is a sandwich, but they always seem – well, too bready! If I never ate bread again I don’t think I’d miss it. But my husband loves his bread. I’m lucky to have a great local bakery that bakes a fairly light loaf using nothing but whole wheat flour, water, yeast and a bit of sugar to feed the yeast. And it’s sold in a few grocery stores and the food co-op.

        • Wade Patton

          Three, four, sometimes five times a week my lunch is a couple of medium baked (nuked) potatoes, eaten like apples, with some fruit and/or nuts as snacks. Sandwich, schmammich.

          • Alan

            I eat a lot of potatoes also Wade. A really good food, much maligned, but a good food. Also i eat a lot of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, all from my organic garden !!!!

          • Rebecca Cody

            I think plain baked potatoes would be a little dry and choky, but I’ve given up the butter I used to slather them with. I recently enjoyed them topped with Emerald City Salad (recipe online), which is made from kale, chard, fennel, red, yellow and orange bell peppers with a lemonette dressing. I now make the dressing with a bit of water instead of olive oil. It was quite tasty on a baked potato. A whole meal.

            It’s generally not warm enough in summer to grow sweet potatoes in the maritime NW, but they sell sweet potato vines at nurseries as beautiful additions to hanging plant baskets. One year as I was cleaning up the pot in the fall I found a couple of little sweet potatoes in the soil. I cleaned them up, baked, and ate them. Quite tasty.

          • Veganrunner

            Rebecca I used to think the same thing about them being “choky” until I decided to give up the olive oil. What do you know–I love them with just a big of spice. And even a sprinkle of hemp seed.

          • Charzie

            And it tastes even better when you smoke a little hemp too! ROTFL

          • lilyroza

            I like baked potatoes with salsa.

          • Charzie

            I like the waxy potatoes to eat plain, steamed or “nuked”, but a topping makes them even better! Funny you should mention sweet potato greens, just today I was cleaning up some ornamental purple sweet potato vines and found that they had cute little crooked tubers. I looked them up and they are edible, just not the best flavor supposedly, but of course I am gonna have to try them! But the greens (purples?) are also edible. Now that is a versatile ornamental, and has pretty flowers to boot!

            I’m in FL and any sweet potatoes and yams grow here like weeds, it’s amazing! It’s one of the few greens that happily make it through summers, cut and come again, and milder than most greens – then you get to eat the tubers! A lot of our perennial veggies are multi-purpose like that – tubers, greens, shoots, berries, pods, fruits, even the seeds are eaten. Being from CT where we had long cold winters and fertile loam with a limited growing season, it’s quite a different growing experience here with the intense summers and anemic sand. It was initially disappointing learning some of my favorites don’t do well here even if you are willing to go to great lengths, but the amazing variety of things I never even heard of that thrive here, more than compensate, and the almost year round growing season is pretty exciting too!

            I’ve always loved gardening and plants, but since I’ve gone WFPB, its a whole different mission! People always think that your food must be boring if you don’t eat any meat. Quite the opposite is true, a piece of greasy flesh surrounded by canned beans and instant mashed potatoes is boring. My plate almost always has a wide variety and something new and exciting on it! When you’ve grown it yourself and know what went into it, (and what didn’t!) it makes it even better, connects you with the whole cycle of life and so much more! I wish everyone would take back their food sovereignty and grow something, even just some salad greens or herbs in a pot, sprouts in a jar, whatever. You can grow a tomato or pepper plant in any patch of earth, you don’t have to plant a field, just eliminate a useless patch of grass! Food is life, and having live food at your doorstep is so satisfying and liberating! It’s shocking how few people have a garden anymore. Sad really. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll be ready! LOL!

          • Rebecca Cody

            Charzie, I see it’s Saturday at your house in Florida, but it’s still Friday here in Washington state.

            Tonight I made the salad dressing in Dr G’s book. It’s on page 319. I topped a baked potato as well as my salad with it and both were delicious and filling. A few nights ago I made his pesto recipe, except, using what I had on hand, I substituted spinach for basil and served it on brown rice spaghetti. We both liked it a lot. Next I’m going to try it on whole wheat pasta, and when I have fresh basil again I’ll use that. Then I want to try the bean waffle recipe someone linked, only I want to use my home canned beans instead of just soaking dry beans overnight, then making them into waffles. I also like his idea of keeping canned beans in the fridge and tossing some into just about everything. I’ve been doing that lately. Beans in smoothies? Why not? You can mask a lot of good things in a smoothie!

            I used to garden, but grew tired of keeping up with the weeds the summer I was away and everything got taken over. Maybe I’ll get my mojo back next season. Your long growing season would be great for growing almost everything you eat. We have a much shorter growing season, but things stay green all winter here, and I’m still eating home grown kale and even mint – surprising at this time of year, but it’s been warmer than usual.

          • Charzie

            That’s funny, it’s the first time I have ever been ahead of things! LOL!

            I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of that book! I asked “Santa”, so we’ll see.

            I never got the appeal of beans, and now I LOVE them! I like to shop at ethnic markets, and get a great variety from the Indian market nearby, a fun place to shop for all kinds of new flavors! I love using besan, chick-pea flour, in all kinds of recipes, and just recently found out that lightly toasting it in a hot skillet changes it’s raw beany flavor into a really nice nutty one and have been having fun experimenting with it. Tonight I had a rare sweet tooth while I was grinding up some oats for flour, and mixed it with some of the toasted besan, put it in a bowl and added almond milk, pureed a banana with a few dates and mixed that in, added a little cinnamon, almond extract, a few raisins and a TBSP of cocoa powder, and nuked the mess for a few minutes until it was bubbly and thickened. Not sure what to call it but it was the best of an oatmeal cookies flavor and chocolate pudding…smooth, creamy, totally satisfying, and healthy! I wanted to refrigerate some and see how it would turn out, but I ate the whole thing warm!

            Yeah, keeping up with the weeds is definitely a chore, so I decided to consider it meditation! Which is much better than medication! Before I went WFPB I was a walking pharmacy, hated it!

          • Rebecca Cody

            You sound adventurous. I often like ethnic flavors, too. Once, in Washington DC, I ate at an wonderful Ethiopian restaurant and LOVED the vegetarian or vegan food I had, but I’ve never had that opportunity again.

            I like that: Meditation is much better than medication! Yes, indeed! It sounds like the words have a common root.

            You’d better write down the recipe you invented for the pudding, or whatever, so you can make it again.

          • Veganrunner

            Charzie I also have a garden. I grow avocado, figs, orange, lemon, limes, apples, persimmons, pomegranate, tangerine, and veggies. Really bad luck with the tomatoes because the dogs pick them all before they are ready! We got a new puppy and she munched the kale including the roots. But I agree–nothing better then picking directly from the garden. I love how you have healed yourself. And food was your medicine!!

          • Charzie

            Yay, another sustainable gardener! Are you in Florida? The dogs like tomatoes. that’s hilarious! I have a cat that loves cantaloupe, but at least she waits until I pick it!
            I just noticed I have a volunteer avocado growing in the middle of some zucchini plants, no clue how it got there, but curious to see what becomes of it! We have a variety of citrus too, I should say had, because the dread citrus greening has spread here and it ticks me off because the orange tree is huge and bears tons of fruit. I have a small reluctant fig that refuses to grow, but most of the other stuff is doing great… most from cuttings, seed, and trade since no way could I afford what the nurseries charge! There’s surinam cherries, loquats, bananas, papayas, moringa, mulberry, chaya, katuk, yuca, mango, dragon fruit, tons of nopales volunteers, malanga, cranberry hibiscus and Florida cranberry or roselle…another edible hibiscus with cool calyces that taste like cranberries and have edible leaves, and some seedling tamarind trees, anchiote, and longan. I planted a bunch of ginger and turmeric that just came up, herbs everywhere, and then all the wild volunteers that are good eating too…bidens alba, purslane, passionfruit, etc. They all take care of themselves, but I do have an area for the more work intensive annual produce too! It’s my first year and just experimenting to see what works best here, but fun! I have a bunch of seeds for spicing and sprouting so I’ve been planting those and whatever I save from produce. My big surprise was how well fennel grows here and what a great host plant it is for swallowtail butterflies! They would gobble it up, pupate, it would grow back, and more larvae would hatch and repeat the cycle, about 4 times so far! I’m not a huge fan of it, so glad they loved it! Lots to learn here!

          • Veganrunner

            I am in Southern California but I went to school in Miami. Gardening is so rewarding. I also planted some butterfly plants two years ago and they keep reseeding. The Monarchs are loving my backyard.

          • Charzie

            I grew some tropical milkweed for the Monarchs and we had a bunch, but I miss our northern milkweed, it was an awesome wild edible, this one is not.
            I picked some arugula for a salad today and noticed a bunch of little caterpillars on them, which I promptly dispatched because they were having a party, but then I started feeling guilty because what if they were a butterfly? I doubt it, but it also made me wonder how many I consumed because I just pick and rinse! Today…I soaked! LOL.

          • Charzie

            I love me some taters too! In fact, my handle on some other websites is Vege-tater! I eat them the same way, as long as they are the waxy red or yellow ones, I could never stand the dry baking potatoes though. When you are hungry and there is nothing made, there is nothing as quick and satisfying as a nuked spud. LOL. I was a weird kid and used to like to crunch them raw, and some things never change…sometimes I cut a raw potato up into thick fries, put em in a covered dish with a few drops of soy sauce, and nuke them for a few minutes, but before they are done and still firm. Yep, weird but I like em, they hold the salsa or other dips!

    • Stewart E.

      The other replies to your comment are pretty good but as a former master baker I though I should put in my 2 cents worth. In most breads sugar is not the problem. It’s the oil and frequently the milk or whey. The sugars are at least partially consumed by the yeast though new dough conditioners are reducing the time necessary for yeast activity. Something like a challah or any, even slightly sweet tasting bread might be a problem. But the alpha and beta amylase can be sufficient to cause enough starch breakdown to give a slightly sweet taste.

      My preferred go to is a whole grain bread done by a local bakery. Alas most do not know how to do it well. So I go for a bread with the highest fiber listed and as uma7 suggests Ezekiel seems to be pretty good in that regard.

      • Nigel Oswyn

        I either make my own, or get the Rudi’s Bakery mark downs. However, I have never been able to make bread that mimics Rudi’s Bakery brand, or the Big Sky Bakery artisan franchise. It always seems to be rough and dry out after a day or so, and that roughness is too harsh for my throat, which is easily abraded and can trigger a cold like immune response when made even slightly sore. I try adding larger amounts of brown rice syrup or honey to soften it, but that doesn’t work too well. I think its all about how the flour is ground, or maybe its a dough conditioner that I’m missing, or maybe its the oven. Any ideas?

      • Wade Patton

        I make my own, no sugar, absolute minimum fats if any. Eating way more tortillas now (I make them too-no oil, no sugar, no salt) than whole-wheat/white wheat/flaxseed bread I usually make with yeast. Not a master baker, but a pretty good hack in the kitchen.

      • Fred

        I was missing bread…so I came up with something I can make myself….that comes in close to the 5 to one ratio:

        1/2 cup of Red Mill Organic Cornmeal Medium….add 1 cup boiling
        water…allow to sit a few minutes…then add 2 TBS olive oil…1 packet

        Add 1 cup Red Mill Cornbread & Cornmeal Muffin Mix plus maybe a bit more water…

        Have a cast iron skillet covered with cooking spray…get it very
        warm….pour in mix…turn flame down…give it 10-15 minutes. Don’t
        need syrup or butter with this….

        Organic or non-GMO…could leave the oil out. Corn might be a bit high on the glycemic index?

        Problem is I like it too much….so I reduced proportions to 1/3 cup….instead of 1/2 cup…

    • baggman744

      I recently started eating loaf bread again, only whole grain. So far even though I read the labels, high fiber, whole wheat – no enriched white flour, why do they all taste so sweet? When did sliced bread become cake? The whole point of a whole grain bread, besides the fiber, is the natural nutty flavor of the grains… and they disguise it with too much sugar. Been through 3 brands already.

      • Wade Patton

        Maybe King’s Hawaiian is the root of sugary breads? Oh how that was yummy. I bet it still is, but I like my new health so much better.

  • Nick Presidente

    I’m curious, since manufacturer’s of food often bloat up fibre stats with garbage like chichory root, is that still on the good to eat list? It seems the more science pushes to health promote anything, the more big industry fines a way to refine it and shove it in places it doesn’t belong.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Great point. I think whole food sources of fiber (the ones Dr. G. mentions) are really what counts. I do not necessarily consider chicory and inulin quality fiber sources. Too much of either I believe may cause gut distress.

      • george

        Hi Joseph: Could you kindly send me the paper titled “Eat More fiber”? Thank you in advance.

      • Mike Quinoa

        Hi Joseph,

        A couple of questions if you don’t mind.

        Can one eat too much fiber to the point where it interferes with the absorption of nutrients?

        I do buy Ezekiel 4:9 bread all the time, and I like it. They also make a bread topped with sesame seeds, which unless you are a Master Masticator will probably go undigested. A friend of mine told me that his doctor informed him that these whole seeds can become somewhat permanently lodged in your intestines. Any truth to this? Thanks.

        • Nick Presidente

          Watch Dr. Greger’s video on Diverticulosis and nuts to find the origin and squashing of that rumour

          • Mike Quinoa

            Cheers Nick. My friend’s doctor was an enterologist, but he may not be up on the latest science.

            Can anyone help with my first question: Can one eat too much fiber to the point where it interferes with the absorption of nutrients?

            Wasa crispbread from Sweden (Hearty Rye flavour) makes the 5:1 grade at 6 grams of fibre and 24 grams of carbs for two slices / crackers.

        • ron

          I bought 4:9 Raisen Bread which has 5 g of sugar but no added sugar, so the sugar is from raisens. The carbs are 18, dietary fiber is 2, so the formula doesn’t work at 9.0 Does that make this Ezekiel not good?

    • Charzie

      Anyone remember the name of that “high-fiber” bread back in the 80’s I think, that turned out to have sawdust as the fiber? My friend’s dad said he was going to leave some out for the termites so they’d leave his shed alone!

      • jack

        Was it called “New Horizons?”

        • Jill

          Almost. It was called “Fresh Horizons.”

          • Charzie

            Thanks! You guys are great Jack and Jill!

  • Aaron Sands

    Any thoughts on Grape-Nuts? First ingredient is whole grain wheat flour, then malted barley flour. No added sugar. 47g of carbs, 7g total fiber.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Better than white bread :-) Looks like has a score of 6.7

  • Joshua Pritikin

    What’s so great about ready-made cereal? I switched to oats, berries, and dates which will cook in the microwave in 1-2 minutes. Even if you don’t like rolled oats, try steel cut oats. Our family thinks they taste a whole lot better than the rolled style.

  • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

    Solid, sound advice!

  • JV

    FIve to one?? But according to that rule, not even bananas nor oats, nor brown rice, nor apples (etc.) pass the test!!! Are you now that these foods are unhealthy??? that’s absurd!

    • uma7

      This test only refers to processed foods.

      • JV

        Still doesn’t make sense to me… if whole foods don’t get pass the test, then why do processed foods are required to? THey’re not supposed to be healthier than whole foods! But if a certain processed food has the same result as a banana would for instance, why then is it excluded and the banana isn’t?? It’s illogical, doesn’t make sense.

  • Marcus Houtsma

    While I agree wholeheartedly that we need more fiber in our diets and whole plant based foods is the best way to get it, we should also be careful with the 5:1 rule as it could eliminate very healthy whole grains from our diets. Looking at some nutrition facts on stand alone whole grain products I calculate the following:

    Tricolor Quinoa – Carbs: 34, Fiber: 4 for a ratio of 8.5:1;
    Amaranth – Carbs: 65, Fiber: 7 for a ratio of 9.3;
    Buckwheat – Carbs: 71, Fiber: 10 for a ratio of 7.1

    There are many other examples I could use as well. It seems as though this rule could eliminate some whole grains that are actually quite healthy to eat.

    • VegGuy

      This rule is for processed foods, not whole foods.

      • Marcus Houtsma

        Understood. However, if we are talking about whole grains in processed foods, the processing does not change the total carbohydrate to fiber ratio unless it is processed to remove the starch, in which case it is no longer a whole grain. You could have a processed food that is made up of 99% of the above mentioned whole grains and the ratio would still be well above 5:1. My point is this video, if taken at face value, could eliminate a lot of healthy fiber-rich items from ones diet.

        • Martin Miller Poynter

          Perhaps the 5:1 ratio should only apply to wheat products. And for other grains it should be adjuster depending on the ratio of the whole food. Interesting I looked up the ratio of the whole food for wheat berries, and it is 32 g carbs and 6 g fiber, which is just above the 5:1 ratio.

        • Jim Felder

          Or you could have an highly adulterated factory Franken-food with added fiber and, as Dr. Greger says, a chemistry set that does meet the 5:1 test and completely misses the point of eating whole foods to get all of the non-caloric nutrients that are part of why eating whole foods is better than processed foods.

        • baggman744

          Exactly. Others that don’t make the “5” cut: oatmeal, brown rice.

    • Maryann

      I am puzzled, too. I have a box of whole wheat matzo, with 2 ingredients, whole wheat flour and water. The total carbohydrate is 21g while the dietary fiber is 3g, giving them a ratio of 7:1. But doesn’t that mean that whole wheat flour doesn’t pass this test?

      • Marcus Houtsma

        Maryann: Yes that is what it means. I think it would be beneficial for Dr. Greger to take a second look at this rule and redefine it. Most whole grains don’t actually meet this rule. The only way to do so would be to add in processed/concentrated fiber (such as agave inulin, chicory root fiber, etc.) or to remove part of the whole grain to concentrate it(e.g. remove the protein from the grain so fiber makes up a larger percentage of the total). In both cases, the final product is not a whole grain product so the video seems to have the opposite affect of what I believe Dr. Greger was trying to promote with it.

  • Veggie Eric

    Fiber… It’s whats for breakfast! Lately, I’ve been on a waffle kick. Anyone tried these?

    • Tom Zdrojewski

      ~4, not bad. And they use sprouted flaxseed, does that bypass the need for grinding to be able to digest?

      • Tom Zdrojewski

        Oh, not available yet. February 2016. That’s a downer.

    • Thea

      Veggie Eric: I’m also a fan of waffles. I recently bought a waffle iron (that I’m thrilled with because the plates come out and can go in the dishwasher). I have a recipe book entirely dedicated to vegan waffles. (Global Vegan Waffle Cookbook is the title.) I used to make those recipes as pancakes since I didn’t have the waffle iron.

      I recently bought Miyoko’s Vegan Pantry book, which has a couple waffle mixes in it. You pre-mix all the dry ingredients. Then whenever you want to make waffles, it is as easy as adding some soy milk and maybe some vanilla and you are good to go. I have tried the buckwheat waffle mix from that book and it is *fantastic*. A very nice special treat breakfast. (I don’t personally consider any waffle/flour product an ideal every day dish.) And one that I can whip for unexpected guests whenever needed.

      • Angela

        This recipe will make you change your mind on waffles being healthy. I’m not a waffle fan but, my kids are and they approved and even I find myself eating them. Whole foods for the win!

        • Thea

          Angela: You may be right! (re: mind changing) That’s a very interesting recipe. Reminds me a bit of the brownie recipes made with black beans. While those brownie recipes have not met my brownie standards, I think my waffle standards are easier to meet. And the recipe looks great. I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for the link!!

        • Thea

          I just took a little look at the rest of the site. What a great set of recipes. Double thanks for the link!

        • Noah

          Whoa, be careful about eating undercooked beans. White kidney beans (cannellini) contain a toxin, Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin). You’re supposed to boil them to destroy it. Merely heating them up can make the beans more toxic. I personally wouldn’t eat cannellini beans that have not been boiled for 15 minutes. You can add in that step to solve the problem.

          • Thea

            Noah: This Is a great warning. And one which I had received from another poster on this site some time ago in regards to slow cooked beans.

            However, I took a look at your links. The first link says that cooking to say only 179 degrees F (meaning 80 C) can make things worse. But when I make waffles, I set my iron to 400 F. So, I’m thinking that is pretty safe. Do you see a flaw in that thinking? The articles seem to think that boiling for 15 minutes and then cooking further with a simmer is necessary, but I didn’t see any evidence to back up that claim. If the goal is to destroy the bad kind of lecithin with a high temperature, I would think that 400 F would do it. ???

      • Veggie Eric

        Hi Thea, you’ve convinced me… I need to up my game and get a waffle iron and start experimenting making my own waffles, I like to top’em with wild organic blueberries. Actually, I’d like to put blueberries in the waffle mix too. I love um. I’ll for sure check out those books. Can never have enough Vegan cook books! I dig Miyoko, good stuff. Thanks!

        • Thea

          Veggies Eric: I don’t know what your budget is nor where you live, but I thought you might appreciate knowing that I got my waffle iron from Bed Bath and Beyond (using one of their 20% off certificates saved a lot). The model is called The Griddler and the brand is Cuisinart. The version that I got comes not only with the waffle iron plates that can be removed, but also griddle and grill plates – so the machine is versatile. You can use it to make multiple pancakes, grill veggie burgers, etc. It even does Panini cooking due to some clever construction. (Note: The version of this machine that comes in other places – like Costco – does not include the waffle plates. In those cases, I believe that the waffle plates can be purchased separately, but if the whole point is that you want a waffle iron, that doesn’t really cut it for me. So, you just have to be careful when buying The Griddler if you want the waffle plates.)
          I didn’t really need another kitchen gadget. I’ve got too many already. But I’m a big believer in having exactly the right tool for a job, and I finally got to the point where I wanted to be able to make my own waffles.
          Good luck on your journey.

  • BB2

    “…but then it’s like corn syrup and a chemistry set”, hilarious! Which makes me wonder, what’s the advantage to adding the chemistry set to bread, where some breads seem to do hold up just perfectly with only a few ingredients…?

    • vmh

      I suspect it’s partly due to making the factory recipes foolproof. The bread will never fail to rise and will turn out the exact same way every time. I just checked my “7 grain with flax sour dough bread” that I bought at the grocery store. Yikes. 29 grams of carb : 3 grams of fiber. AND, it’s not cheap.

    • D|F

      Mostly to improve shelf life.

  • Noe Marcial

    i wonder if white flower with bran added later it is the same than whole grain flower fiber.. i mean it is just the fiber or it is what is in the fiber.. because seems thats some times it is a processed food and later we added some processed bran… and may be that after all the process vitamins and others get lost in the way?

    • Noe Marcial

      at least in spain you don’t find whole wheat bread , in place you find brow bread.. (white bread with added bran..)

    • fencepost

      White bread is missing the germ as well as bran. The germ has much of the minerals, vitamins and oils.

  • Thea

    For anyone who wants to apply this rule in the grocery store and doesn’t have a calculator handy (or a brain who loves math): I find it easier to multiply rather than divide. So, multiply the fiber by 5 and if the number you get is more than the number of carbohydrates, you pass this one rule.

    I think it is important to keep in mind that this is just one criteria to use for assessing a food product. This is not the only criteria. It’s just one more tool we can use to judge convenience foods.

  • sir_russ

    So, I like the big biscuit Shredded Wheat. It has exactly one ingredient: Whole Grain Wheat. I like to eat it with a bit of flaked coconut, pumpkin seeds, a few
    walnut pieces, an apple, a banana, raisins, a tablespoon of flaxseed,
    some wheat germ, and soy milk.

    But, Shredded Wheat fails the five to one test since it has 37 grams of total carbohydrates while having about 6 grams of dietary fiber. It has no added sugars, but there are 31g of Other Carbohydrates. Who’da thunk it?!

    • Martin Miller Poynter

      Maybe one explanation is that to be considered “whole” for purposes of the label, they might still be allowed to remove some of the fiber, as long as they keep it at a certain percentage?

      • sir_russ

        Martin Miller Poynter. I think I will keep this particular indulgence. With three biscuits I get: 9 grams fiber; raisins(1/4 cup): 2 g; apple: 3 grams; banana: 3 grams; wheat germ: 1 gram; flax meal: 3 grams. This puts me at at least 21 grams of fiber for this bowl of goodness. It tastes great and I feel great, too.

  • Joe Caner

    Bummer. My favorite organic whole wheat pasta from TJ’s with just one ingredient, organic durum whole wheat, has an 8.2:1 ratio of carbs to fiber with 41 grams of carbohydrates to 5 grams of fiber. Of course the ratio of the entire meal is improved with the sauce I make which include tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, beans, greens and mushrooms. I also looked up the ratio for whole oat groats which has a ratio is 7:1, and a banana which clocks in a 8.5:1.

    Which begs the question:
    Is this rule of thumb to be applied uniformly to all foods, to meals or to pre-made factory fabricated food products?

    • Martin Miller Poynter

      I think it also should depend on what the product is made of, for instance, whole oat products should be closer to the 7:1 ratio, right?

      • Jim Felder

        I like this approach. Measure it against the ratio of the major whole food in the package. So like you said if you are eating Cheerios, which is an oat product, then it should be pretty close to 7:1 ratio or else it is oats with a bunch of junk. BTW, Cheerios is 21 g of total carbohydrates and 2.6 g of fiber for a ratio of 8:1. So while it doesn’t meet the 5:1 rule, it as bad as it would seem when compared to the whole food equivalent.

        • Martin Miller Poynter

          Thanks, Jim… seems the sensible thing to do to match the processed ratio to the whole ratio depending upon what grain you are dealing with : )

        • whaler


      • Joe Caner

        It’s not just the fiber. It’s the antioxidant content of foods. Whole foods come pre-bundled with more antioxidants than pre-packaged, edible, food like products. See:
        Bulking Up on Antioxidants (

        • Martin Miller Poynter

          agreed, but since we’re talking about fiber to carb ratios…

          • Joe Caner

            Too true, although, on several occasions, Dr. Greger has sited research that indicate that fiber alone is not pathway to health. It is the the antioxidants that naturally occur in the fiber of whole foods that make the difference. Otherwise, one can get their fiber from ground psyllium husks and eat all manner of denatured and animal based foods, and experience little benefit. The video that I posted above was the only one that I could find on short notice, although, I remember there being others…

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Door #3 “pre-made factory fabricated food products” aka processed foods :-)

    • Jim Felder

      I tried to go to the USDA nutrient database to see what the ratio is for durum wheat itself and surprisingly it doesn’t contain the grams of fiber. It has all the other information, just not fiber. Looked elsewhere on the inter-webs without any luck on the fiber in the wheat berries themselves. So I had to settle for other varieties of wheat. Hard red winter wheat (which is what my family used to grow) is 71.2 g carbohydrates per 100 g of which 12.2 g are fiber for a ratio of 5.8:1. Hard to believe that durum wheat would be that much different, in fact durum is used in pasta because it has a higher protein, especially gluten content. So you would think that the higher protein would displace a gram or two of the carbohydrates in the endosperm without effecting the fiber in the bran. The result should be that durum has a better ratio than other wheats. So it looks like TJs is doing more than just grinding up what and adding a little water to make their “whole” wheat pasta. Like you said, bummer.

      • Joe Caner

        Interesting Jim. Thank you for looking into it. I went poking around looking for the fiber content of durum wheat, and I was able to find this article ( ) that describes durum as semi-hard wheat, and consists of 12% / fiber 14% brand. It’s difficult to imagine that TJ’s would open themselves up to the liability by misrepresenting the contents of something marketed under their own name. Perhaps, the numbers on the nutrition label are incorrect. I’ve seen numbers on labels that I didn’t look quite right before.

        • Rhombopterix

          Even assuming their numbers are right, you could make up for it later as suggested by Darryl above… beans for tea?

  • Blaice

    Ha, I just got a 6-pack of uncle Sam’s from amazon a few days ago delivered. It had been far too long since I’d had it! US + organic raisins = NOM NOM.

    Pour almond milk (or your sub choice) on top and it is addicting, but full of nutrients.

  • Suz

    The bread I buy at New Saesons is organic made with wheat flour,rye flour,cracked barley,barely flour,salt and water. Is there a way to figure the ratio without knowing the carbs and fiber numbers?

  • Laloofah

    So here’s an oddity: I grabbed two packages of organic, 100% whole wheat pastas from our pantry and applied this rule to them. The brands and pasta types are different (Bionaturae Fusilli vs O Organics Rotini), but the serving sizes (2oz) and ingredients (just “organic whole durum wheat flour” and nothing else) are exactly the same, as are the grams of fiber per serving (6g). But the grams of carbs are different: 35g for the fusilli and 41g for the rotini. Neither passes the test, but the fusilli comes closer to the goal by a fair bit, despite having (allegedly) the exact same ingredients. (Our Bionaturae whole wheat lasagna noodles have the same numbers as their fusilli). What could account for this? Different labs measuring carbs & fiber and getting different results? Different durum wheat crops differing in their carbs/fiber content?

    The O Organics (which we usually don’t buy) does not identify the country of origin for their wheat. The Bionaturae is from Italy. Being part Italian myself, it was tempting to assume that Italy has superior wheat crops when it comes to fiber. ;-) But when I checked a package of Natural Directions whole wheat Penne Rigate (ingredients: organic whole wheat durum flour, flour), which is also a “product of Italy,” their 2oz serving size fared the worst with 42g of carbs & only 4g of fiber. I’m baffled. (I’m no less baffled by how the other two companies seem to make their pasta without water!)

    • Kay

      Simple enough; 6g fiber + 35g carbs = 41g total net carbs. Seems the Rotini accounted for the total net carbs in their nutrition information, while the Fusilli, did not. That would make sense.

  • Nigel Oswyn

    The one thing everyone must remember is that with any dry fibre like wheat or some other, one must take in a large amount of water with it or else that fibre will end up as a sack of concrete in the colon. I discovered that no matter how long I cooked wheat berries, when consumed in large amounts, they were the worst to try and pass. Fibre can have the opposite effect.

    • Jim Felder

      Wound up in the ER with incredible abdominal pain. Thought I was dying. Just had to be something dire to be causing that much pain. Turns out it was an impacted bowel because I was still eating my regular 50+ g of fiber, but just got real busy and forgot to keep drinking fluids. Truly high fiber diet + extended dehydration = BAD!

      • Thea

        Jim: That’s a super great warning. I am thinking of trying some konjac that Charzie mentioned in another post. Konjac is just fiber. I had better make sure my experiment with the stuff includes plenty of liquids!

        • Rhombopterix

          Does Konjac boost butyric by any chance? : )

          • Thea

            Rhombopterix: Gosh, I’m sorry. I have no clue. For all I know, it is no different than most highly processed foods. It just sounded to me worth investigating some more and maybe playing around with it for fun. I’ve had some of those fun noodles that they make out of this kind of substance, and I like the consistency. I was thinking, hey, if it gets me some more fiber and I like it…

            But as people have pointed out in this discussion, you can get more fiber eating saw dust. Meaning, “more fiber” in and of itself isn’t necessarily good. You have to take all the factors into account. I don’t know all the factors for konjac. It may be a great processed product, like cocoa or green tea, or it may fall into the category of being more like inulin (sp?) that Joseph mentioned on this page somewhere — and which he doesn’t speak highly of.

            Sorry I don’t know more.

          • Rhombopterix

            Thanks Thea, I might be seeking knowledge that does not yet exist. I need to increase her load of SCFAcids and feeding her (my wife) micoflora more fiber is not doing the job. We’ll get there…just got to keep thinking and trying. Best wishes to you from us both.

          • Charzie
          • Rhombopterix

            Thank you very much. I’ve got some good leads to take to the library from that. This one is online:


            Back in ’98 Y. Matsuura found Konjac-glucomannan are coverted to SCFAs, about 50%. The anaerobic bacteria do the job. I never thought of the bowel as being anaerobic. Now it makes more sense because glycolysis does not require oxygen and does produce acid. Lactic, not so sure about butyric but seems likely.

            I am sure there has been more work since then. The goal is to select the best fiber sources to reduce inflammation. I’ve been waiting for this topic to gurgle up for some time.

            This is good news. it give us something to “chew on”, heh. Equates to hope!!

          • Jeewanu

            A lot of research is being done on this. These might help you –

            Journal of Functional Foods

            Volume 2, Issue 3, July 2010, Pages 219–224

            glucomannan hydrolysate beneficially modulates bacterial composition and
            activity within the faecal microbiota

            Michael L. Connolly, , Julie
            A. Lovegrove, Kieran M. Tuohy

            2. Tungland
            BC, Meyer D (2002) Nondigestible oligo- and polysaccharides (dietary fiber):
            their physiology and role in human health and food, Comp Rev Food Sci Food
            Safety, 3:73-92.

            Tarini and Wolever. The
            fermentable fibre inulin increases postprandial serum short-chain fatty acids
            and reduces free fatty acids and ghrelin in healthy subjects. Appl Physiol
            Nutr Metab. 35:9-16 (2010).

            *Cummings JH, Macfarlane GT, Englyst HN (Feb 2001). “Prebiotic
            digestion and fermentation”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
            73 (2 Suppl): 415S–420S. PMID 11157351.

          • George

            Rhom: it has a lot of soluble fiber. If you gut microbiota is healthy, the action of bacteria on the soluble fiber should create all three SCFAs: butyrate, propionate, and acetate.

        • Charzie

          Yeah for sure Thea! They were putting the stuff in capsules to be used as a weight loss gimmick to swell up in your tummy, but without enough water, they were getting stuck and swelling up in throats! Ugh, what a way to go! Since when you cook with it it’s already hydrated, a much safer option! It is cool stuff though, and even has benefits for cholesterol, diabetes, etc. I think I included a list in my last comment about it.

        • George

          Thea: I take three capsules of glucomannaan first thing in the morning always with two cups of water and have had no problems at all. I agree with Charzie that taking powder dissolved in water is dangerous because it gels up so fast. (There’s a video demonstration of glucomannan gelling up in water on Youtube.)

          • Thea

            George: Thanks for the extra tips/your experience!

  • SeedyCharacter

    This is off-topic but I’m really hoping Dr. G makes a video or writes a blog post soon explaining/refuting this study appearing in Science Daily that says a ‘healthier’ more veg rich diet leaves a bigger environmental footprint than a meat eating one. It’s being picked up and broadcast all over the media:

  • Joe Caner

    From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food (
    “if you really don’t want a stroke [and who does?], we should try to get 25 grams a day of soluble fiber , which is found in beans, oats, nuts, and berries, and 47 grams a day of insoluble fiber, found primarily in whole grains. One would have to eat an extraordinarily healthy diet to get a total of 72 grams of fiber a day-huge amounts of plants. Yet these cut-off values could be considered as the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber, to prevent stroke.”

    • Rhombopterix

      Thanks Joe, I’d missed that. From the transcript: ”

      But if you really don’t want a stroke, we should try to get 25 grams a day of soluble fiber , which is found in beans, oats, nuts, and berries, and 47 grams a day of insoluble fiber, found primarily in whole grains. One would have to eat an extraordinarily healthy diet to get a total of 72 grams of fiber a day-huge amounts of plants. Yet these cut-off values could be considered as the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber, to prevent stroke. They admit these minimums are higher than those commonly and arbitrarily proposed as “adequate,” but do we want to be patronized to, as to what authorities think is practical, or do we want them to just tell us what the science says, like they did here?”

      This was specifically related to stroke/CHD. Not sure who the “Authorities” are but I’ll re read. I am looking for science that addresses how to increase the butyric output once you’ve got the good bugs. Fiber, yes I get that. Do you think these ratios would optimize butyric production? I’m guessing that in my wife’s case it related because she has other signs of inflammation. She eats WFPB. We just agreed to revisit our practices once again and ensure we are on track.

  • Annetha

    I think the breads at our house make the cut, though Dave’s 21 grain (22/5) Killer Bread (from Costco) has 5g sugar. It smells glorious toasted, though! I eat thin black Mestemacher pumpernickel (25/6), with 0g sugar. Also, we make rosemary-onion flatbread with chickpea flour, which, given ingredients, probably makes the cut(?).

  • gentlegreen

    My weekend multigrain loaf fails the test at 6.25 :(
    Annoyingly they quote finished rather than dry. mix.
    I will make sure I weigh my finished loaf next time.

    But I’m sticking with it. I suppose I could add some bran. I used to add 30g ground flaxseed which should do the job … once I’ve spread on the wholenut peanut butter and yeast extract, the biggest problem is the calories. I’ve learned that making it 2/3rd scaled down makes a crustier loaf.

    I rarely eat less than 50g of fiber a day …

  • Robert Jones

    so what cereal passes the carbs divided by dietary fiber test? oatmeal doesn’t.

    • Martin Miller Poynter

      From the video it appears Ezekiel, Food for Life brand does.

    • Darryl

      Even my staple breakfast, Shredded Wheat’n Bran, with only the 2 ingredients, scores 5.3. I’ll make up for it later in the day with beans (2.8-3.0, unless the sugary baked kind).

  • Great easy technique for a quick analysis of fiber in packaged foods. I’m going to add it to my label reading course for clients along with the Jeff Novick recommendations! Thanks for this practical info Dr. Greger!

  • Jim Felder

    Point of confusion. Is the numerator the total grams of carbohydrates which includes the amount of fiber, or it it net carbohydrates (total – fiber)? If it is total over fiber, then even whole foods like whole oat groats and wheat berries don’t meet the criteria. But if it is net over fiber, then at least wheat does with a ratio of 4.8:1 for hard red winter wheat. Whole oat groats still don’t pass the test with a ratio of 5.3:1.

    So at best it looks like for products containing wheat, the slightest amount of refined carbohydrates and the product flunks the test. And if it is total to fiber ratio, nothing with wheat will pass the test. And nothing based on oats will ever pass the test regardless of how the ratio is calculated.

  • Panchito

    Some food processing companies add wood dust (cellulose ingredient) to increase the fiber number on the label.

  • justin

    i think a Calories/fiber ratio is more important! it could be used this as a sort of calorie dilution method. something like 30-40/1 seems like it would be about where most of the calorie sources stand. that also accounts all the macros. in the case of cereal with items like oats or corn flakes and soy milk you could add all bran to improve the ratio. adding bran is basically what they take out in processing. finding cereal that does not have sugar added to it eliminates 99% of the aisle. but adding berries and bran to something you like helps. i think that dr g’s recommendation leaves wide misappropriation as it is conflicts with many whole foods. if applied to some whole foods like wheat, oats, bananas, apple, sweet potato, potato, these items fail. even black beans barely make it at 4.52 so im afraid that while limiting junk food is essential this “5/1” seems a frail method to screen processed food!

  • MikeOnRaw

    I personally do not eat that much bread that I worry particularly of the fiber content but there are many foods other than just bread where such a metric can help. Especially in parts of the world where stores will have an entire wall of breads to pick from, with only one or two really worth investing your time in.
    Of course all the benefits that come from eating more fiber is that the foods that come with that fiber end up filling you up so you don’t each so much of the bad stuff. And if you do that, eat a diet primarily of a wide variety of whole plant foods, then you simply will solve many of the top health issues of today’s people.

  • poop patrol

    Not sure why Dr. Greger urges people to check labels instead of simply choosing foods without labels instead. There are only a handful of things in my kitchen that have any labels, and they contain few to one ingredient (tomato paste, vinegar,tamari). As a result, I reach the RDA for fibre during breakfast. Today’s breakfast example: 1kg cantaloupe (9g), 1 large banana (4g), 12 deglet noor dates (7g), 1/2 cup oat groats (10g) and 1/4 cup coconut flakes (2g) — the last four are mixed in a big breakfast bowl. Throw in my morning snack, 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds (4g), and I get 36 grams of fiber before lunch – 150% of the US RDA. None of those foods come with a label, and if they did, the label would contain just one ingredient.

    • Rhombopterix

      How many kids did you get out to school this morning?

      • Joe Caner

        I have to imagine with a moniker like “poop patrol” that he or she has at least one in diapers. ;-)

      • poop patrol

        What does that have to do with anything? There’s almost no prep involved in a breakfast like that. The oats aren’t even cook – just soaked in warm water overnight. Chopping up a banana takes seconds. Pitting a dozen dates takes about a minute if you’re a bit sloppy, as does chopping up a small cantaloupe.The seeds and coconut were bought prepared (shelled and toasted). If you don’t have less than 5 minutes for you health, perhaps it’s time to reconsider things.

        • Steven

          OK: It doesn’t take long to prepare the breakfast. How long does it take you to eat it?

          • poop patrol

            The melon takes 10 mins or so to consume (a 1kg organic cantaloupe is surprisingly small). The breakfast bowl takes 15-20 min, but that’s because I take care to chew, as one should when eating in general, but especially so when consuming high fiber meals. If I was the perpetually rushed, go-go type, I’d probably throw that whole mess in a blender for a couple minutes and have it as a smoothie. I prefer to eat my food however, as most of the plant-based doctors recommend. Our mouths didn’t evolve to chew food at 30-40K rpm, so ya.

  • Mark G.

    I recently received a bag of Sari brand organic nutritional yeast that I bought on amazon. I really like the product because it’s made from blackstrap molasses and is not fortified, so there are no synthetic vitamins. And they routinely test to make sure that lead is well below acceptable levels (If you email them they will quickly tell you their latest readings.) But I was surprised to find on the nutritional label two tablespoons provides 25% of the daily allowance of phosphorus. I seem to recently recall reading that too much phosphorus is problematic. I assume that if I’m on a WFPB diet, no added oils, sugar or junk, that I should be fine and don’t have to worry about having 2 tablespoons a day. Does that sound right.

    The Linus Pauling website’s page on it says: “The phosphorus in plant seeds (beans, peas, cereals, and nuts) is present in a storage form of phosphate called phytic acid or phytate. Only about 50% of the phosphorus from phytate is available to humans because we lack enzymes (phytases) that liberate phosphorus from phytate. Yeasts possess phytases, so whole grains incorporated into leavened breads have more bioavailable phosphorus than whole grains incorporated into breakfast cereals or flat breads.” The LPI site also notes that “Segments of the US population who consume more highly processed foods and whose phosphorus intakes approach the tolerable upper intake level of 4,000 mg/day are thought by some to be at high risk of developing adverse health outcomes.” and that “…sources of phosphorus in grain-based vegetarian diets may be preferred over meat-based diets.”

  • sljrnr

    Nature’s Path, Organic Heritage Flakes cereal scores a 4.8.

  • Lawrence

    Crinkle, crinkle, processed food,
    your chemistry affects our mood.
    Sitting on the store shelf where,
    my child cannot avert his stare.
    Crying, crying, pout and brood,
    I must now buy your lousy food.

  • Bill

    Arnold Sandwich Thins: Whole Wheat first, 21 C / 5 F = 4.2

  • Jeff Salisbury

    Glycemic Load — Ezekiel4:9 Bread – 2 slices toast = 72 … 3/4 cup bran flakes = 74 (add 34 more for 1 tsp sugar) Snickers bar = 68 … stop eating grains

    • jem

      In my opinion that just shows the fallibility of the glycemic load.

      • Jeff Salisbury

        There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept of GI nor of the related concept, glycemic load, GL, a measure that also factors in the quantity of food. The problem is how the values for GI and GL are interpreted. For instance, categories of GI are arbitrarily broken down into:

        High glycemic index 70 or greater
        Moderate glycemic index 56-69
        Low glycemic index 55 or less

        This is like being a little bit more or less pregnant. By this scheme, cornflakes, puffed rice, and pretzels have “high“ GIs above 70, while whole grain bread, oatmeal, and rice have “low” GIs. A typical non-diabetic person consuming a typical serving of cornflakes, e.g., 1 cup cereal in ½ cup milk, will thereby experience a blood sugar in the neighborhood of 180 mg/dl—very high and more than sufficient to set the process of glycation and glucotoxicity on fire, add to adrenal disruption, cataract formation, destruction of cartilage, hypertension, heart disease, and neurological deterioration or dementia. (Blood sugars will vary, depending on body weight, degree of overweight, insulin sensitivity, time of day, and other factors, but this would be typical. Someone with pre-diabetes or diabetes will have a higher blood sugar.)

        How about a low-glycemic index food, such as a bowl of oatmeal, 1 cup cooked, in ½ cup milk? A typical response: blood sugar 170 mg/dl—lower, yes, but still quite awful, triggering all the same undesirable phenomena triggered by the high-glycemic cornflakes. This is why I believe “low” GI is more accurately labeled “less-high” GI, not “low.” Alternatively, we could just recognize that any GI above single digits should be regarded as high because it’s not until you get to single digits or zero that blood sugars no longer range into destructive levels.

        The concept of “glycemic load” tries to take this into account by factoring in portion size. Thus the GL of cornflakes is 23, while the GL of oatmeal is 13 and that of whole wheat bread is 10. GL is usually interpreted as:

        High glycemic load 20 or greater
        Moderate glycemic load 11-19
        Low glycemic load 10 or less

        Once again, this lulls you into thinking that foods like oatmeal or whole wheat bread don’t raise blood sugar—but they do. They are not low glycemic load; they have less high glycemic loads.

        The value that truly appears to count and predict whether or not we will have a blood sugar rise? Grams of carbohydrate. Specifically, “net” grams of carbohydrate calculated by subtracting fiber:

        “Net” carbohydrates = total carbohydrates – fiber (from Dr. William Davis, cardiologist & author of the Wheat Belly Diet)

      • Thea

        I agree. Dr. Greger has some great videos showing what the science has to say about eating whole grains. They are so healthy.

        That’s why we know that: just like the rule of thumb talked about on this page, the glycemic load is just one more small tool/guideline to use in evaluating a food. It is not the only measure of health. Blood sugar is supposed to spike after a meal. The question is how high it goes and how low it goes after the spike.

        Another problem with the glycemic load is that because most bread products rank pretty high, people then confuse “bread” with “grains”. Whole, *intact* grains, tend to come out very differently on the glycemic load rankings compared to bread and other similar products.

        • jem

          Does or doesn’t it make a difference what is eaten with the bread? Seems to me in “the olden days” we were told to eat protein and/or fat with bread so it wouldn’t hit the system so fast. But that was a long time ago and memory……

          • Thea

            jem: While I’m not an expert, I would *not* be surprised if eating bread with other foods (though I wouldn’t characterize those other foods as protein and fat–since many whole foods should work, including I would think something like beans, etc) would mitigate the effect of some breads on blood spikes. This would be similar I think to the effect of drinking clear juice to eating the whole fruit. Or even drinking pulpy juice, which is healthier than the clear juices in terms of effect on blood sugars. (NutritionFacts has some videos on this topic.)

            But you would have to do some research to find the right ratios. Ie, how much other food compared to bread in order to have what kind of an effect…? And it should also be noted that rye and pumpernickel do not have the same detrimental effect on blood spikes as other breads.

            However, the effect on blood sugar is not the main concern that I have with bread. As with most any flour-based product, even whole grain flours, the grain loses a lot of nutrients by just being ground up to flour and some time passing. Whole, intact grains are much healthier because you get all the nutrients. I believe that NuritionFacts has a video on this topic, but I couldn’t find it. I know that Brenda Davis, RD has a slide in one of her talks where she ranks grain formats by their nutrition level (ie, whole berries vs steel cut vs rolled vs puffed vs whole flour, etc) and whole flour is almost at the bottom, maybe just above white flour if I remember correctly? Though puffed was pretty far down too.

            Two other problems with flour based products are calorie density and what else is involved in the package. Flour based products tend to be quite calorie dense, which is not good for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight. And we tend to make those products with unhealthy ingredients (say a cake that has sugar, etc) or eat them with unhealthy ingredients, say slathering coconut oil on one’s bread. A home made simple bread eaten sparingly with only healthy toppings (say an oil-free hummus?) may be just fine. But I think that that is not the norm. That these products tend to lead people to “the dark side”.

            That’s my take on it. What do you think?
            When it comes to bread, I treat it the same way I treat dessert. I don’t consider it all that healthy, but having some sometimes is OK in the context of an otherwise whole, intact plant food diet.

          • jem

            I also treat bread as a dessert. Rarely buy it but make quick bread. Just made a small loaf of crazy bread last night. It has cocoa powder and a little sweetener with wheat/oat flour, flax seed meal, baking powder and water. Don’t make the crazy bread very often but is an occasional indulgence. I don’t have a weight problem because I have learned to control indulgences or just plain don’t have certain things at home which are not controllable. I believe one can go overboard about omitting flour because of the problems you cited. On the other hand bread can be made very healthy with many healthful ingredients and flour can be made in vitamix and used immediately.

          • Thea

            jem: Your quick bread sounds delicious!

          • jem

            It is. Sprinkle a little shredded coconut in pan and on top of dough. Add a bit of nut butter to a cold or warm slice. Much better than making cake and if I want a slice sweeter add something.

  • whaler

    Right to the point.
    I have Hypothyroidism. I am on L-Thyroxine 50 mcg 8 pills a week.
    I am a 49 year old Male 190 lbs
    Changed diet 2 yrs ago to a 90% whole plant diet and exercise 5 days a week.
    My TSH is 4.70 H

    Just to show I have clean diet My Total Cholesterol is 150 Hdl 82 Ldl 54 Triglycerides 69.

    I am trying to find a way to get myself off L-Thyroxine. From what I have read all the doctor is doing is treating the symptom but not the cause of my hypothyroidism.

    I imagine if I was able to address the root cause of why my thyroid is under performing it would be more beneficial instead of just pumping it with more L-Thyroxine.

    I have not found much on this on your site. Is there any place you can point me ?

    • Matthew Smith

      Iodine and Selenium are very good for the thyroid. I had just one half teaspoon of Iodized salt and had to go to the emergency room because I could no longer feel my heartbeat in my chest. Is your heartbeat loud? Can you count beats just from feeling into your chest? You might have low Iodine. Just three pieces of Nori supply one day’s worth of Iodine. Perhaps you could try a quarter of a teaspoon of salt a day for a while to test how much you will stand adding Iodine back to your life before you get a day’s serving worth a day. Is salt too salty for you? I thought so, I was nursing an Iodine deficiency for decades. Back pain, tendonitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many other problems can be related to Iodine deficiency. Good luck to you. Many thyroid problems are related to low Iodine. Selenium, found in Brazil nuts, is also good for your thyroid. I am so sorry to has come to asking about Iodine for you. Iodine might be very good for your heart. Consider with me that your thyroid just stores Iodine in part. My prayers are with you.

    • Darlene Meadows

      My low thyroid has improved in the last several months or so by every day eating at different times just one Brazil nut and one Tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds – they both contain selenium. It’s important not to overdo your intake. The thyroid needs zinc too; pumpkin seeds are good if your zinc intake is low; I eat a Tablespoon of them almost every day. My last test showed my level had improved by almost 1!

    • Fred

      Check this out?

      Could High-Dose Iodine Be Dangerous?

      As I mentioned at the beginning, while Dr. Flechas provides very compelling arguments for using doses as high as 12.5 milligrams (mg) per day, which is a far cry from the RDA of 150 micrograms (mcg), I’m hesitant to make such a recommendation. I think the jury is still out, and we need more research to determine the health effects of too much iodine.

      As reported by Reuters at the beginning of this year1, a recently published study has cast some doubts on high-dose iodine supplementation. The study, published December 28, 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition2, randomly assigned one of 12 different dosages of iodine (ranging from 0 to 2,000 mcg/day) to healthy adults for four weeks.

      When diet was factored in, those taking 400 mcg/day were receiving a total of about 800 mcg of iodine per day.

      At doses at and above 400 mcg of supplemented iodine per day, some of the study participants developed subclinical hypothyroidism, which appeared to be dose dependent. At 400 mcg/day, five percent developed subclinical hypothyroidism; at the highest dose—2,000 mcg/day—47 percent of participants were thus affected. Subclinical hypothyroidism refers to a reduction in thyroid hormone levels that is not sufficient to produce obvious symptoms of hypothyroidism (such as fatigue, dry skin, depression or weight gain, just to mention a few common tell-tale signs).

      So, these findings suggest it might not be wise to get more than about 800 mcg of iodine per day, and supplementing with as much as 12-13 mg (12,000-13,000 mcg’s) could potentially have some adverse health effects.

    • Veganrunner

      Hi Whaler. I am also hypo. Before going WFPB 3.5 years ago I was on 2.0 mcg of Levothyoxine. My required dose is now 1.37 mcg. I too was hoping I could get off the meds altogether but it doesn’t seem possible. However I prefer my TSH around 1.0–there is nothing worse than feeling that fatigue.

      As I understand it, hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto Disease includes some thyroid scaring. That may not be possible to reverse.

      Good luck.

  • Lawrence

    There once was a man from Virginia,
    who said, “Whole grains are good, get ’em in ya!”
    “Your microbes, you see, will eat them with glee,
    and will succor your gut epithelia.”

  • janet

    so i guess Nature’s Path Rice Puffs would not be acceptable. The calories 50 ,carbs per serving 14 and the fiber 1.??

  • sljrnr

    Eureka! Grainiac Organic Bread scores 4.4 and can be found at Target and Wal-Mart.


    Dave’s Killer Bread is a perfect 5:1. What about whole foods without added ingredients? My Red Mill Steel Cut Oats are 6:1.

  • sljrnr

    I used to love to eat Ezekiel sprouted whole grains bread, which says it has no sugars (!!) but after a year or so I started to find it so dry. This bread looks inviting to try – Cybros Sprouted Seven-Grain Bread. It rates 2.33 with 7 carbs and 3 grams of fiber per serving. It does have one gram of sugar from honey and molasses. But unfortunately, it’s not organic….

  • LG King

    To me, the definition of a Whole-Foods plant based diet…is Whole Food. Not to consume anything that comes in a…box, bag, can, bottle, jar, wrapper, or container.

    (with the exception of legumes and dried whole grains).

  • jem

    Fiber One 90 Calorie Mint Fudge Brownies
    Ingredients: Wheat Flour Bleached, Sugar, Chicory Root Extract, Peppermint Flavored Chips (Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Milk, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel), Fructose, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Sugarcane Fiber, Vegetable Glycerin. Contains 2% Or Less of Water, Dried Egg White, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Nonfat Milk, Corn Starch, Salt, Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Oil of Rosemary, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake. Contains Wheat, Milk, Egg, Soy; May Contain Peanut, Walnut And Macadamia Ingredients.

    Total carbohydrate 17g , total fiber 5g. This fits the five to one fiber rule but is not worth buying.

  • Isobel Lechner

    Dave’s Killer Bread, 21 Whole grains and seeds. Total carbs 22/Fiber 5 = 4.4. This is the best commercial bread that I have found, I think it is much better than Ezekiel.

  • MateuszSz

    what if I went plant based about 2 years ago and I still feel very bad ? are there any blood tests that I shoud take ?

  • If interested unless their policy has changed, Food for Life, producer of Ezekiel Breads, supports the Weston Price Foundation…


    • Thea

      That kind of thing really matters to me. Thank for sharing. (And what a shame about Ezekiel.)

      • Thank you Thea! I’ve caught some flack from others who think I’m making too big of a deal out of this. I want to, as best I can, support companies who share my values. All the best!

  • Brown rice 11.25 to 1 – so what about John McDougall pointing out that WHITE rice serves billions of people well ?

  • Annetha

    Dave’s Killer Bread (21 grain & seed) sold at Costco. 22g carbs / 5g fiber, but 5g sugar (not HFCS at least, organic, non-GMO). 120 calories/slice–fabulous toasted aroma.

    Thin black pumpernickel (Mestemacher). 25g carbs / 6g fiber, 0 sugar, no preservatives–long shelf life, though! 120 calories/slice.

    I suspect homemade socca, a chickpea / rosemary / onion flatbread, makes the cut: chickpea flour, salt, olive oil, onion, rosemary leaves. Quick google shows ½ cup besan (chickpea flour): 22 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 5 grams fiber, 10 grams protein, and 178 calories.

  • Tengku

    Can any1 reccomend a good probiotic supplement?

  • Ben

    Not completely on-topic… it seems like there used to be a list of references at the end of each video linking back to the original papers cited. I can no longer find this information; can someone tell me where it’s gone?

    • Thea

      Ben: Look to the right of the vide for a button labeled “Sources Cited”. After clicking that button, look below the video.

  • John Q.

    Hi Dr. Greger, Thank you for your wonderful site, and great new book.( I just bought 2 )
    I have a few questions, if that’s ok.

    Our family follows a Vegan diet, mostly organic, non GMO food, Flax, B12, D3, green veggies etc.
    My 20 year old son has a problem with his lips called Exfoliative Chelitis, almost certainly brought on from his PAST habit of biting his lips. He has tried every cream and natural product we could find, but he still has the problem. Would you have a suggestion?
    I am 63, pretty healthy, the only med I take is for low Thyroid, 0.088 of Synthroid, which I have taken for 5 or 6 years, and my GP has said that will be for life,, any alternatives of thoughts?
    One other concern is I was sent for an ultra sound a couple of years ago which found I have quite noticeable gallstones. I get quite severe attacks maybe 2-3 times a year, which has resulted in me going to the ER a couple of times. The hospital gives me pain med, does blood work, keeps me till 2 or 3 in the morning and sends me home my family doctor says I must have my Gallbladder removed, which of course I will do, if I really have no alternative.
    I had heard the doing something as simple as taking Apple Cider Vinegar in Apple Juice could help, which I tried and it really is effective, but I don’t know if I’m just putting off the inevitable. Because of seeing how effective turmeric, along with black pepper can be in inflammation, I have added that to my diet, and have not noticed any effect, but did see where it can actually make the pain worse by contracting the Gall Bladder.
    Last last question, My father and in our family, we have had a history of heart problems, I recently saw a documentary called The Widowmaker on Net Flix which talks about Coronary Calcium Scoring, which seems to help predict possible future problems. I asked my doctor about it, and he said that’s for research only, and not available. I checked online and noticed a clinic that offers it, for a few hundred dollars. Checking around, noticed there was talk about the potential risk of additional radiation vs the benefit of the test.
    Thank you again,

  • JR

    Does this mean “stop eating oatmeal” for breakfast? The ratio for oatmeal is about 7. What if I put some berries and flax seed on top? Also, I heard to be wary of products using cellulose to boost their fiber content–so may not be as simple as looking at the ratio but also the ingredients. What do you think?

  • Carb/Fiber


    Bob’s Red
    Mill Wheat Bran
    Wheat bran

    Uncle Sam
    wheat kernels (rolled, toasted), whole flaxseed, salt, barley malt

    Ezekiel 4:9
    wheat, barley, almonds, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, water, salt

    Shredded Wheat
    Whole grain wheat

    Rolled oats

    Whole Foods
    Elbow Pasta
    Durum whole wheat flour

    Sonoma Valley
    Quinoa, amaranth, millet

    Lundberg Long
    Grain Rice
    Long grain brown rice

    I emailed Dr. Greger about these (mostly dismal) ratios and that Uncle Sam has whole (undigestible) flaxseeds.

    He replied “That’s only for processed foods! Whole foods are automatically green light foods.”

    Now I’m not sure now what qualifies as “processed.”

    • Sorry about the stretched out posting above. The products were in an Excel table that didn’t retain its format in the comment field, and I wasn’t able to delete the post. If you didn’t scroll to the end, here was the last portion: I emailed Dr. Greger about these (mostly dismal) ratios and that Uncle Sam has whole (undigestible) flaxseeds. He replied “That’s only for processed foods! Whole foods are automatically green light foods.” Now I’m not sure what qualifies as processed.

  • George

    By this measure plain oatmeal is a no-go, as it has (approx) 32 grams of carbs and only 5 grams of fiber. But oatmeal has less than 1 gram of sugar, so full of good complex carbs. If oatmeal is not an acceptable fiber rich food, I wonder if your ratio is overly strict?!? Please advise. Thank you.

    • Thea

      George: The rule of the thumb is meant to be a guideline for judging packaged/processed foods. Not whole foods like oatmeal. But if you wanted to reach the ‘rule of thumb’ for a dish, you could add some say black beans to your oatmeal to bump up the fiber content. (Just an idea.)

  • Adam

    This is tough… I thought my “The Original – High in Fibre – Red River Hot Cereal”, with only 3 ingredients: steel cut wheat, steel cut rye and cracked and whole flax, would make the cut, but… 27 g of carbs and 5 g fibre, which means it’s a little over 5…

  • Adam

    Even Brinta, a Dutch hot cereal, with only whole wheat flour as an ingredient is 38/4 = 9.5, which is almost as bad as honey nut cheerios!!! :(

  • Jenell Mahoney

    I found one! Alpine Valley Breads 21 Whole Grains (Organic, Non-GMO, no oils)…18 oz. loaf…Total carbs per slice 14 g, fiber 4 gr … Alpine Valley Breads is based in Mesa, Arizona…I bought this bread at Sprouts Market.

  • bgrune

    I greatly appreciate this site and Dr Greger’s work but I think this video is not very helpful as it is somewhat reductionist and may result in some folks giving up eating breads and cereals altogether. I eat the Ezekiel knock-off bread from Trader Joes. Despite having nothing but the best ingredients with no added sugar it does not make the cut according to this video. It is reductionist in that it focuses on a few types of food when no one is probably (hopefully) eating them in isolation. If one eats a varied whole food diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes as I do then you shouldn’t be worried about micromanaging your fiber intake. That being said, it’s always wise to check labels of packaged foods and opt for the the best you can find in your area.

  • Catherine Coluzzi

    Check out Van’s 8 Whole Grains frozen waffles. The ratio is just 3.7, well below 5, and kid friendly too!

    • Thea

      Catherine: In addition to the fiber ratio, the ingredients look pretty darn good for a packaged product. Nice.

  • Jason

    The 5 to 1 ratio looks pretty unrealistic to me, who don’t eat processed food–either breads or breakfast cereals, but make my meals from scratch. Looking at, my oats have a carb: fiber ratio of seven, and so does my buckwheat. My brown rice has a ratio of eleven! So much for the unrefined whole grains.

    If you want to get your carb-fiber ratio below five, you’ll need to stick to greens, beans, mushrooms, and some fruits like guava and berries. Nuts and seeds have very low carb:fiber ratios, but contain a lot of fat, so probably don’t count here. Even dark chocolate has a low ratio (4), but shouldn’t be a staple food (very high in fat). The lowest non-fattening carbohydrate-based foods are vegetables, legumes, and mushrooms.

    But even if the only whole grains which meet the five-to-one test are bulgur wheat, hulled barley (not pearl), and rye, we probably shouldn’t worry too much about getting enough dietary fiber if the rest of our diet contains sufficient vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, and select fruits. I usually average about 80 grams of fiber per day, which is almost triple the recommended amount.

  • vegank

    It’s great to have a quick decision making formula that can be used when grocery shopping ! I hope we get to learn more of these .
    Sometimes we do need to buy processed food for one reason or another, or for other members of the family , in which case we need to choose a product with healthier ingredients & ratio of Carb/fibre.

  • Lauren

    Is this rule your own invention or is it backed up by a study?

  • Zuppkko

    That’s why i buy just the food with one ingredient – itself. A whole potato, a whole bean, a whole watermelon, and so on.

  • S

    But oatmeal is 27 grams of carbs and only 4 of fiber. We wouldn’t advise against that, would we?

  • vegank

    I grow Burdock from seed which is great for fibre and it has a great nutty flavor. It is pretty hardy and disease resistant , very easy to grow.
    you can slice them thinly , steam or stir-fry, then add a little soy and sesame seeds and a hint of stevia(optional).

  • Eileen

    Your ratio of 5 is too severe. Steel cut oats have a ratio of 6. If steel cut oats don’t make the grade, there’s something wrong with what you’re saying.
    (Bob’s Red Mill Steel-Cut Oats
    Carbs = 29g
    Fiber = 5g)

  • susan johnston

    Kashi Go Lean Cereal has a ratio of 3.07.

  • Steve Eldredge

    By this standard, old fashioned rolled oats would not make the cut with a ratio of 6/1. How does this make sense as oats are highly touted as a fiber rich and nutrition dense food.

  • ddanand

    A am not sure about the rational behind the 5 to 1 fiber rule but shredded wheat from many companies that has whole wheat as the only ingredient does not fit the rule.

  • Lin

    Hi Dr. Greger!
    I always enjoy reading your blogs and listening to your videos, but I am a bit confused by the fiber 5 to 1 ratio rule. It makes good sense, of course, but then even super healthy fiber rich foods like whole grain rolled oats or steel cut oats (only ingredient listed!) doesn’t make the cut with ratios of 27:4 and 29:5, respectively. Am I misunderstanding this concept?

  • Paul Dzielinski

    Some confusing advice here. This post is about the 5:1 carb/fiber ratio. Other posts tout the benefits of oatmeal. But my can of steel cut oats, that I love, are 27:3 (9:1!). My other go-to breakfast cereal is Kashi go lean, which is a much better 40:13, or just over 3:1. So should I quit the oatmeal and eat the Kashi, or should I avoid Kashi because some will say it’s manufactured by the evil Kelloggs?

  • Eric

    I have found some whole food cereals (puffed brown rice, puffed millet, puffed corn, and puffed kamut) and none of these meet the 5-1 rule. Are these worth eating since they are a whole food, or should I skip this and assume some fiber was lost when it was puffed?

    • Thea

      Eric: The first time I was exposed to Brenda Davis RD was a talk she gave that included a slide showing healthfulness of grain formats from most to least nutritious. Puffed versions were at one of the lowest levels. I can’t remember if puffed grains were just above white flour or under it. But they were both way down there. It’s not just the fiber that is lost (if any – I don’t know about that part), but all sorts of other phytonutrients get lost too. At the top of the list was whole, intact grains (whole brown rice, wheat groats, etc) and under that was I think steal cut. There were several other layers. I just remember that puffed was far down the list. Hope that helps.

      FYI: Brenda Davis has been a guest blogger here on NutritionFacts and is author of one of my favorite reference books: Becoming Vegan, Express Edition.

  • Will Fagg Rn

    Can we start a list of products that meet this criteria I literally spend an hour or two at the grocery store looking at an ocean of unhealthy packaged foods now. Almost all of the foods I used to Love and eat are not healthy. Trying to find good products with high fiber and low or no added sugars is very hard, add reduced sodium on top of that and a reasonable price and it’s seems like there are 10 packaged foods or less in the entire store that can be eaten. Right now I really like Uncle sams cereal (it is almost the only cereal without added sugar that does contain whole wheat ) and meets the 5-1 rule. I tried looking for a 5-1 rule bread, but the only loaf I could find was 3 times as expensive the Sara lee whole wheat bread which clocks in just under the 5-1 rule , I used to love triscuits but they don’t contain enough fiber … I found wasa light rye crispbread (it looks like graham crackers) but meets the 5-1 rule with 3g of fiber and 14g of carbs per two full pieces. Any other suggestions for healthy breads or crackers that are affordable ?

    • Thea

      Will: You are at an exciting place in your journey to eating healthy. It’s all new and there is about to be a wide vista of super tasty new foods open to you. But it’s also a very hard place to be as you haven’t figured everything out yet. How to make that transition? I recommend you consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. That program will hold your hand, with grocery lists, meal plans, recipes, inspirational videos, cooking videos, and an awesome forum where you can connect with other people in your situation and which is moderated by an RD who can help answer questions.
      PCRM’s program makes it very easy AND they fit your criteria of being affordable. I think It is worth checking out to start retraining your taste buds and to help you find healthy affordable food in a grocery store without spending 2 hours doing it! If you are interested, click the green button on this page:
      Another idea I *strongly* recommend for you is Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD. It’s worth every penny. He gives you 10 recipes that are all very cheap, tasty, filling, can be put together in minutes, and which are extremely healthy. It’s a fun DVD and if nothing else, provides some great ideas. Here’s the DVD I’m talking about:
      I didn’t address your question directly, because I wanted to give you the good news first. Here’s my personal answer to your direct question: I think that one of the whole points of this video is that most processed foods are not going to meet this rule. And that makes sense since we know that processed foods are just not going to be all that healthy. Unhealthy is almost the definition of processed foods.
      It’s not that you can never have crackers or breads as part of your diet, but they would not ideally be the focus or a significant amount of calories–even if they meet the 5 to 1 rule in my opinion. After all, as Jeff Novick explains on his page about calorie density (I can get you that link if you want), dry goods are fairly calorie dense. So, for most people, you don’t want too much of those foods. If you have to eat them in larger than ideal amounts as you transition, that’s not the end of the world. And I’m sure you will be able to find the more healthy versions of those commercially processed foods. Or maybe finding healthier versions of breads and crackers the least of your concern for now? And so perhaps for now you eat the dry goods you like as you focus on other areas of your transition. That’s an option too depending on what would work for you.

      • Will Fagg Rn

        Thanks Thea, those look like great resources, the dvd seems a little pricey, I will see if I can find it at the Library :) I know if I put in the effort I will be able to find a good balance between cost (money and time) and nutrition :)

  • Eric

    I have been looking at some whole food cereals, like nature’s path puffed kaput, and the original Kashi…and both of these fail the 5-1 test. Is that a problem? They are essentially whole plant foods. Where’s the fiber?

  • Ash Woodward

    I have been searching the grocery store and the only cereal (other than Uncle Sams) that comes close to meeting this 5-1 ration is Fiber One. Fiber One is full of a bunch of chemicals, though. Could you give some examples of other good cereals?

  • TFOM

    I am confused by the 5 to 1 idea. Whole oats and sproated quino don’t make the cut under this concept.

  • Sam Moroni

    Can you eat to much fiber? I’ve been experimenting with a raw till 4 diet lately eating up to 85 grams of fiber a day, is that to much?..

    • Thea

      Sam: I’m not an expert, but here is my understanding: 85 is not too much in general, but it can be too much for some people if they are making an abrupt switch from a much lower amount. Such a person may need to ramp up more slowly. If your body is handling it fine, then it sounds like a healthy amount of fiber to me.
      I’m not sold on the raw movement, but I don’t think there is a problem with the fiber. I think that’s a very good thing.

  • Marissa

    Hello, I eat Long grain organic brown rice made in California. If I go by your ratio….carbohydrate 35g and dietary fiber 3g, it is not good tonbe eating. Does this app you to rice too?

  • Patricia Feely

    What is the background for this 5:1 Fiber Rule?
    1. What research back up the 5:1 ratio? I did not see it in the sources cited for the video.
    2. Apples, oranges, bananas, sweet potatoes and many other fresh produce recognized as healthy do not meet the 5:1 ratio.
    I love this website and Dr. Gregor’s research, but he needs to be more careful here!

  • Nerma

    I like this easy way to check for fiber content, but I am troubled by fact that regular, old fashioned, oats don’t make a cut. 27 g carbs, 4 grams fiber. Ratio 6.75! How can regular oats be poor choice for fiber?!


    Trader Joe’s 100% whole grain Fiber bread has a ratio under 4

  • ClaudiaB

    I’m confused…my steel cut, !00% whole grain oatmeal has 27g carbohydrate and 3g dietary fiber…giving it an “unhealthy” ratio of 9 !? What am I missing here? Time to toss the oatmeal?

  • Vegan Max22

    I don’t get it :-( on my brown rice it says 72g carbs and 2g fiber, 72/2=36, which is more than 5, goes back on the shelf?

  • Alina

    I am just wondering. Does it apply only to bread? What about oats? The rolled oats that I have have 60 something gramms of carbs and 7 grams of fibre. When you do the ratio it comes to 8, so it’s not good according to what’s been said. How come?

  • Sandy Burns Rose

    So what about the oatmeal I eat every morning thinking it is good for me. It looks like I need to put it back on the shelf.

  • chewy

    what about large flake oatmeal ,air popped popcorn?

  • Joan E, RD-NF Volunteer

    I believe the 5 to1 ratio, is a rule of thumb to use when buying something processed or packaged, Not for a whole foods.

  • James Wald

    Whole wheat pasta is about 7:1, a potato around 10:1, and brown rice a whopping 13:1. Should we be avoiding these foods or are these exceptions to the rule? I typically cook pasta with a lot of veggies and beans with the rice so that brings the ratio back down.

  • Deb M.

    I have hunted & hunted for quinoa & brown rice that meet the 5 to 1 rule to no avail. Any suggestions?

  • vanrein

    What a nice simple rule. But is it too simple?

    Many things were as could be expected; but I was surprised to find raisins, blackcurrents and cranberries all banned.

    Alas, there’s no substitute for thinking and making balanced choices I suppose ;-)

  • Upholstered Gun

    I eat the Mestemacher brand German wholemeal rye bread….32 g Cho and 8 g fiber with a ratio of 4. It has only whole kernel rye. Yeast, salt, water. I buy at local Whole Foods . Delicious!

  • Fianne

    What’s with the 5-1 rule, when I use ’emmer’- flour. It is ground whole ‘wheat’ (sort of wheat), but the carbohydrates are 62 grams, the fibers are 10,6 grams. So the wheat itself hasn’t got the ratio… It has 13 grams of protein though.
    Do you have any thoughts about that?

  • macrumpton

    The Mestemacher whole grain rye breads are 33 carbs/100gm and 8.4gm of fiber, better than 4/1. Delicious with almond butter, apple butter/sauce or chutney. they are very reasonable in price, about $3/ loaf and they are unique in that they come sealed in plastic and don’t need refrigeration until opened. They last for weeks , or even months when unopened. Amazon has them in packs of 6. The bread is very tasty and dense, and a couple of slices is almost a meal.

  • Robin

    Dave’s Breads are high fiber whole grains and seeds. I found that pastas made from beans are high fiber, high protein and 0 to low fat. An example is Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine, who makes pasta from soybeans and adzuki beans. Banza in Detroit makes pasta out of chickpeas. All these items I found in Sprouts Farmer’s Market and they adhere to the 5:1 rule.

  • Geoffrey Levens

    Intact whole grain kamut (non-hybrid wheat) does not pass the test! Brown rice much worse! Nor do whole oat groats. Only a few of the intact whole grains pass that test. Sweet potato? Nope! I think we have a problem Houston!!!!!!

  • Bat Marty

    Dear Dr Greger,
    Why in your book you say that the ratio should be under 7 and here under 5?
    Also my basmati brown rice has just 4 grams of fiber in 100 grams of rice..(and a carb/fiber ratio of 19) – I thought better..and it’s an oranic brand..does it mean that it’s refined?
    Thank you

  • Blair Rollin

    If I understand this correctly then oats have a ratio of 7 and brown rice has a ratio of 32. At leasts that’s what the labels I’m looking at say. And, I thought these were some of the healthiest whole plant foods on the planet. Although I can see it picking out foods that are loaded with refined grains and sugar, I don’t see how this rule is going to be very useful because it would also eliminate some of the best foods. My bag of whole wheat flour comes in at a ratio of exactly 5 BTW.

  • Michael Little

    I’m not sure this rule is valid. The only ingredient in frozen mangoes is “mango chunks,” yet the total carbohydrates are 21 and the fiber is 2.