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FIBER: What? Where? Why? {Recipe: High Fiber Oat Bars}

Posted on by on March 7th, 2012 | 31 Comments »

Fiber: What is it? Where do we get it? Why do we need it?

Reports state that Americans and Canadians, alike, are only consuming half (14g) of the recommend daily amount and some reports indicate consumption is as low as 4.5-11g per day. The Institute of Medicine recommends 14g of fiber per day for every 1000 calories consumed. You do the math. Unless you are restricting yourself to 1000 calories a day, most people need to boost their fiber intake, significantly.

What exactly is fiber?

The simple answer, fiber refers to plant derived carbohydrates that cannot be digested.

The more complex answer is that there are two types of fiber. Soluble fibers, such as gum and pectin, that partially dissolve in water and insoluble fibers, such as cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin that do not dissolve in water.

Where do we get fiber?

Sources of Soluble Fiber
  • Oatmeal, oatbran
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Dried peas
  • Lentils
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Chia seeds
Sources of Insoluble Fiber
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

Why do we need to eat fiber?

Dietary fiber has many health benefits. Diets high in dietary fiber (>25g/d) has been shown to reduce one’s risk of the following:

Diabetes and Obesity

When soluble fiber is ingested it alters the characteristics of the gastric (stomach) and intestinal contents, primarily by increasing viscosity. Increased viscosity can influence gastric emptying, dilute enzymes and absorbable nutrients and substrates in the gastrointestinal tract. It may also prevent starch hydrolization, and slow the diffusion or mobility of enzymes, substrates and nutrients to the mucosa; resulting in the delayed appearance of nutrients (i.e. glucose) in the blood following a meal. This mechanism is how fiber helps aid in the balance of blood sugar levels in diabetes.

Constipation and Hemorrhoids

High fiber diets increase overall intestinal bulk, increasing stool softness, frequency thereby reducing the incidence of hemorrhoids. Soluble fiber allows more water to remain in your stool, making stool softer, larger, and thus, easier to pass. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your fecal material, which speeds its passage.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease is a major cause of death in Canada and USA. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. High fiber diets can decrease low density lipoproteins (LDL), bad cholesterol, by reducing the amount of bile acids that are reabsorbed in the small intestine. In order to replace those lost bile acids the liver uses LDL cholesterol to make more bile acids.

Colon Cancer

Fiber that reaches the large intestine is fermented by the colonic microflora, producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFAs, specifically butyrate is the primary energy source for colon cells, maintaining a healthy colon mucosa. Butyrate has been studied for its role regulating cell differentiation, proliferation and programmed cell death (apoptosis). Considering that cancer is essentially a dysregulation in these, aforementioned, cell processes, butyrate likely plays a role in cancer prevention due to its antiproliferative properties.

Estrogen-Associated Cancers

Estrogen is on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) list of known carcinogens and has been implicated in breast, endometrial, and uterine cancers. Studies have shown reductions in circulating estrogen levels with a high fiber intake. Conjugated estrogens in the liver are excreted into the bile and reabsorbed in the intestine. Fiber binds estrogens in the colon during the enterohepatic circulation and increase the fecal excretion of estrogens. Additionally, dietary fiber may reduce intestinal β-glucuronidase activity, which is necessary for hydrolysis of conjugated estrogens before absorption, thus, resulting in less reabsorption of estrogens.

Do you need more fiber?

Now that you want/need to increase your fiber intake, I have the perfect recipe! Made with whole oats, a soluble fiber and coconut flour an insoluble fiber, these high fiber oat bars boast 6 g of fiber per serving! Move over Fiber One and your 23 ingredients, including corn syrup, and palm oil! Make way for these high fiber (and protein) oat bars made with 9 whole-food ingredients. Nut free, therefore school friendly and kid approved.

High Fiber Oat Bars

Yield: 20 bars or 36 mini bites

High Fiber Oat Bars


  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1.5 cups coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds


  1. Combine oats, coconut, coconut flour, chocolate chips and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  2. On low heat combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Add chia seeds and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into cookie sheet. Or press firmly into silicon mini muffin trays. Freeze for 30 minutes then cut into bars.


Nutritional information per serving: 0mg cholesterol | 6g fiber | 4g protein

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  1. Natalie G
    Posted on: 3-9-2012

    Sounds great! Could another type of flour be used?

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 3-9-2012

      You could use another flour. I would suggest almond flour. It is the coconut flour that adds the bulk of the fiber, so you will compromise the fiber content if you substitute it. I did not use almond flour because I wanted the bars to be a school friendly snack, but I am sure almond flour would add a nice flavour. Let me know how it goes?

  2. Natalie G
    Posted on: 3-12-2012

    Hi Jayda,
    I decided to go and buy some coconut flour and try these out. Yummy!! They were a big hit with my kids as well as my hubby. I will make these again for sure. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Lisa D
    Posted on: 3-24-2012

    Is almond meal the same as almond flour? I haven’t found coconut flour anywhere yet, but I have some almond meal in the cupboard.

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 3-25-2012

      Yes. Let me know how they turn out with almond flour.

  4. Barb
    Posted on: 4-5-2012

    I know coconut oil is healthy, but I don’t have any! Can regular canola oil be used, or will it change the consistency? Taste? Thoughts?

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 4-5-2012

      I am not sure I would substitute the coconut oil in this recipe. It gives it a wonderful flavour and coconut oil holds it together, as it is solid at room temperature.

  5. Justin
    Posted on: 6-29-2013

    Hello, thank you for such a simple recipe – school friendly is a big plus as well. Would you be able to provide the remaining nutritional information and suggested number of servings so I know how big/small to cut the bars based on their nutrition component? Thanks for your time and assistance.

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 7-3-2013


      I like to make them in silicon mini muffins trays. If made that way the recipe yields about 30 puck-shaped granola bites. One or two pucks would be a reasonable serving. Each puck contains: 127 calories (66 from fat), 8g fat (0 cholesterol), 15g carbohydrates (4g fibre and 7g sugar), and 2g protein.


  6. christina h
    Posted on: 8-28-2013

    Is there any way to cut the oil down or substitute it with something else? We need to keep our added oils to a minimum for health reasons, and I’m looking for more granola bar-type recipes that I think we’d like.

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 8-28-2013


      In this recipe it is the combination of the coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, and the chia seeds that hold the bars together. If you eliminate the coconut oil the bars might fall apart. You could try decreasing the amount of oil to 1/4 cup of less. The recipe makes a lot so 1/4-1/3 cup coconut oil does not make this a high fat recipe. I would choose coconut oil over all the other solid at room temperature fats, as it has the most to offer in nutrients.

  7. Melanie
    Posted on: 3-24-2014

    These have been an AMAZING addition to our home! Gluten free, dairy free, and no nuts for sending to school?? You nailed it!! THis is fabulous. Didn’t think I’d like the cinnamon, but it really adds something. Love this recipe. Thank you!

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 3-25-2014

      Thank you Melanie!!

  8. Pam Dillon
    Posted on: 3-26-2014

    Any possible substitution for the coconut? The coconut oil and flour will be fine, but one picky eater in the family isn’t fond of coconut itself and the recipe looks great. : )

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 3-26-2014

      Pam, you could substitute the coconut with extra oats. Let me know how they turn out.

  9. Renee
    Posted on: 8-4-2014

    Can flax be used as substitute for chia? How much does this change fiber content?

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 8-15-2014

      Renee, yes you could use flax instead. It changes the fiber content slightly (lower).

  10. Eileen
    Posted on: 10-25-2014

    When you say these have 6 grams of fiber, how many servings per batch are you getting? Thank you for your help!

    • Eileen
      Posted on: 10-25-2014

      I am also wondering what size pan you are using? Thanks again!!

      • JaydaSiggers
        Posted on: 11-18-2014

        I prefer to use a silicon mini muffin tray.

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 11-18-2014

      One serving is 2 mini bars or 1 full size bar. Per batch I usually get 20 bars or 36 mini bars.

  11. Nisha
    Posted on: 4-1-2015

    Hello Jayda, I love the sound of your no-bake method…. I have been doing a similar version baked which tends to break up/crumble at room temp. From reading your notes to all, I’m now inspired to try no-bake style. Quick question- i’ve got some spelt flour in my pantry- could I replace the coconut flour with an equal amount of spelt flour? If that’s not advisable, I’d just go buy the right flour based on your advise. Merci in advance!

    • JaydaSiggers
      Posted on: 4-2-2015

      Nisha, replacing the coconut flour with spelt flour would work just fine. However, it will decrease the amount of fiber. The recipe is very forgiving. Just keep the ratio of dry to wet ingredients the same and it should work just fine. Enjoy!

  12. Nisha
    Posted on: 4-2-2015

    Dear Jayda, thank you for the prompt feedback. I took a crack at it replacing coconut flour with spelt flour. The texture and flavor was not compromised in any way. The bars hold very well. However, I found the amount of honey way too much for my taste. Can one reduce the honey and if so what is the minimum amount of honey to be used? Any substitutes, i.e. agave or other?

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