Consumers don’t always understand the differences between the terms, ‘whole grain’ and ‘fiber.’ The terms can cause some confusion and fiber and whole grains can add calories for consumers looking to increase fiber in their diets. A three-part series examines fiber in Nutrition Today.

According to a three-part series about fiber inNutrition Today, consumers who eat more whole-grain foods to boost their fiber intake can increase their calories by more than 1,200 a day foods they already eat.

"Small steps in your diet can help make a big difference," says DeAnn Liska, Ph.D., senior director of nutrition science at Kellogg Co., and a co-author of the article series. "Choose two or three foods each day, such as beans, fruit and cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber - to boost your fiber intake," she recommends.

Fiber is a critical nutrient that’s not only beneficial to a healthy weight, it aids digestive health and heart health. But less than one in 10 American adults and children get enough fiber in their diets, and most get about half of the amount of fiber they need, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

"Whole grains can be an important source of fiber, but the reality is that meeting the recommendation of 'making half your grains whole' will only provide about one-third of daily fiber needs for most people," says lead author Betsy Hornick, M.S., R.D. "So it's important to make your whole-grain choices count by looking for whole-grain products that provide at least three grams of fiber per serving."