Fiber Density

This week’s Nutrition Diva podcast episode talks about the concept of fiber density and why it matters. Many high-fiber foods are also high in calories. If you’re looking to increase fiber but keep calories under control, you want foods with a high fiber density.

We can calculate the fiber density of a food by dividing the fiber by the calories and multiplying by 100. For example, the fiber density of raspberries is 12.5, means that 100 calories of raspberries contains 12.5 grams of fiber.  (Although the calories and fiber will change with the serving size, the fiber density will always remain the same.)

Here’s a table showing how various foods rank in terms of their fiber density. You can sort the table by any value by clicking on the column header.

For example, sort by Fiber to see which foods provide the most fiber per serving. Sort by Fiber Density to see which foods provide the most fiber for the least calories.

FoodAmountFiber (g)CaloriesFiber density
Wheat bran1/4 cup6.63220.63
Endive, raw1 cup1.6820
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup52917.24
Chicory greens, raw1 cup1.2717.14
Cauliflower, cooked1 cup4.93115.81
Mustard greens, cooked1 cup4.22815
Kale, raw1 cup0.9712.86
Raspberries, raw1 cup86412.5
Romaine lettuce1 cup1812.5
Collards, cooked 1 cup7.66312.06
Chinese broccoli, cooked1 cup2.21911.58
Broccoli, cooked1 cup4.74111.46
Celery1 cup1.61411.43
Artichokes, cooked1 choke6.86111.15
Passionfruit1 cup24.522910.7
Swiss chard, cooked1 cup3.73510.57
Green beans, cooked1 cup43810.53
Spinach, cooked1 cup4.34110.49
Radishes1 cup1.91910
Spinach, raw1 cup0.7710
Zucchini, cooked1 cup2.9319.35
Asparagus, cooked 1 cup3.6409
Green peppers, raw1 cup2.5308.33
Cabbage, cooked1 cup2.8348.24
Winter squash, cooked1 cup6.6828.05
Black beans1 cup16.62187.61
Alfalfa sprouts1 cup0.687.5
White beans1 cup18.62547.32
Chia seeds1 Tbsp5707.14
Lentils, cooked1 cup15.62306.78
Strawberries, raw1 cup3496.12
Bulgur, cooked1 cup8.21515.43
Bran flakes1 cup7.21335.41
Oranges1 cup4.4855.18
Flaxseed1 Tbsp2.8555.09
Chickpeas1 cup10.62115.02
Kiwi1 cup5.41104.91
Avocado1 cup12.92764.67
Mushrooms1 cup0.7154.67
Blueberries1 cup3.6844.29
Pumpkin seeds1 cup3714.23
Sweet potatoes, baked1 cup6.61803.67
Grapefruit1 cup2.5743.38
Banana1 cup5.82002.9
Pasta, whole grain, cooked1 cup5.31842.88
Hummus1/4 cup3.61442.5
Quinoa, cooked1 cup5.22222.34
Almonds1/4 cup4.52072.17
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup31751.71
Brown rice, cooked1 cup3.52181.61
Tofu1/2 cup2.91811.6
Walnuts1/4 cup21901.05

15 thoughts on “Fiber Density

  1. The measure ‘cup’ for vegetable greens is pointless. Unhappily the USA is firmly wedded to the ‘cup’ when it is very clear that the logical measure is ‘weight!’

    ‘Spoons’ is ok, and can be managed well, although when making a small amount of sauce, I weigh the oil/butter and flour to ensure correct proportions.

    One more! I resent strongly having to click in order to go to the next page. Please put all of the article on one page. I stopped reading you because of this somewhat childish setup.

  2. I am very nutrition savvy and always learn something from your article or it reinforces what I have uncovered through my research. I think you are a very useful resource source and look forward to receiving your posts. I am very selective of the posts I sign up for and you are provide useful, intellectual stimulating and timely information. Thank you for sharing all your time consuming research and interesting fact finding with us.

  3. What are the units of the fiber density, or how was it calculated? Is it one of the following, or something else:

    * grams of fiber per serving
    * grams of fiber per grams of vegetable in a serving (nope, couldn’t be, don’t know how you’d get a number greater than 1 (like 20))
    * grams of fiber per gram of vegetable (nope, couldn’t be, don’t know how you’d get a number greater than 1 (like 20))

    I think the most useful (to me) measurement of density would be grams of fiber per grams of vegetable (which would always be a number less than 1).

    Where did you get these figures from — maybe there is an explanation in the source document?

    1. They divided the grams of fiber by the calories then multiplied by 100. Grams of Fiber divided by grams of food would give you what percentage of the food is fiber. The method provided in this article is stating what percentage of the calories are fiber. I think the latter is more useful if you are trying to watch your over all calorie intake.

      For instance, according to this chart, there are 3.6 grams of fiber for 134 grams of blueberries (I weighed 1 cup.) There is 1 gram of fiber for 64 grams of romaine lettuce. 2.69% of the mass of the blueberries is to fiber and only 1.56% of the mass of romaine is fiber. However, the remaining blueberry contains more sugar than the remaining romaine. Speaking calorically, you get more bang for your buck by eating the romaine.

  4. Ahh, ok, it is grams of fiber per 100 calories of food (calculated as 100 times (grams of fiber divided by calories) )

    1. That other article is also mine! And, yes, I moved the decimal just to make the numbers easier to work with.

      The source material is the USDAs food database, which lists fiber per 100g in addition to various serving sizes.

      If you wanted to create your own table of fiber/g, you could do that. The nutrient search tool allows you to search (and download) by whatever criteria you choose: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

  5. Back in my college days, I was so fascinated by nutrition that I took all 3 nutrition courses and even volunteered at a dietitian’s office. Your idea of fiber density is interesting. As I am always searching for easy-to-find food when I’m outside, fiber-dense food while important is not as useful to me as the satiety index of food. Thank you for introducing this idea.

  6. This is exactly what I was looking for!! So helpful :). Do you think a vegetarian/ vegan diet is healthier than one that is not if both are done responsibly?

    1. It would really depend on how you define “healthier” (and for whom) and how you define “responsibly”!

      A healthy (that is: balanced, nutritions, minimally processed) vegan diet is usually higher in fiber, which may be beneficial for a healthy gut microbiome. On the other hand, vegan diets tend to be lower in protein (and protein quality). An healthy ovo-lactovegetarian diet offers some of the advantages of both.

      Then again, a nonvegetarian diet doesn’t HAVE to mean meat every day. It could mean meat (or fish or poultry) once a week or once a month…

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