My Up app is full of useful information and, as it is beginning to get to know me, it has started to throw some of it in my direction. Apparently people of my age sleep an average of 6 hours and 45 minutes. Even though I am not sleeping well in my opinion it makes my seven hours look positively slovenly. Quality of sleep is quite interesting too. Assuming that the microsensors are accurate l believe that I only get around three hours of sound sleep. I have an irritating but unconscious habit of waking at around 3am. On the plus side I average 11m to get to sleep. You’d think I’d be a dab hand at this after 50 years of practice but I’m still inconsistent.
Up informed me that I wasn’t eating enough fibre (measured in grams per day). It invited me to try and achieve 38g per day and I eagerly accepted the challenge. I sat back with a smile on my face before the realisation that I have absolutely no knowledge about nutrition. I’m a reasonably educated bloke but I don’t think I was taught this at any point in my life. I realised that I know lots of rules about low cholesterol, low salt, low calories, high fibre. I also know that I should do something with saturated fats, protein and carbohydrates but I don’t have the tools to deliver.
If my experience is shared by everyone of my generation it is little wonder that we have an obese and unhealthy nation. Thankfully I think it is taught much better these days.
To return to my challenge… I decided to Google it. Sure enough there are plenty of lists of good fibre sources – beans, pulses, rice, hole meal and whole grain bread, nuts, jacket potato skins and bran-based cereals. In the process I also spotted that the NHS recommends an average of 18g a day but most people, like me are stuck with a 20% deficit. Looking at the items on the list I realised that in solving my fibre challenge I could run into a calorie challenge. Another quick Google though showed me a list of high fibre low calorie foods:
Raspberries and cooked peas are fantastic at roughly 8 calories per gram of fibre
Pears and blueberries are both around 10 calories per gram
Apples are 12 calories per gram
So with just a slight adjustment thanks to these foods that I really like anyway I managed to smash the target and eat 57g of fibre. I’ve learnt something into the bargain and apparently it will do wonders to lower my blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately it has also made me realise just how embarrassingly little I know about nutrition and added yet another area of the food label I need to examine carefully.