Dietary Fiber: How Much Do You Need?

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Dietary Fiber: How Much Do You Need?

August 2, 2019 Written by: Costectomy

Nutritionists and doctors agree that fiber is an important part of a healthy and complete diet. But what is fiber exactly? Well, fiber is food that your body can’t digest and absorb. You might wonder why you need to eat high-fiber food if it’s not even being digested by your body. In fact, fiber  acts as a ‘carrier’ for all the bad stuff in your body, helping push it out through regular bowel movements. 

Benefits of fiber in your diet

Reduces inflammation: Fiber removes inflammatory toxins from your body and helps reduce the risk of diseases like cancer. 

  • Removes ‘bad’ fat: Low-density lipoprotein, or the ‘bad’ fat, is eliminated from the body with fiber. This can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease. 
  • Lowers blood sugar: Fiber slows the absorption of sugar from the gut, so your blood sugar levels don’t have sudden high spikes after eating This is especially helpful if you have a family history of diabetes. 
  • Improves bowel movements: By softening and adding bulk to the stools, fiber prevents constipation and regulates bowel movements. 
  • Helps with weight control: Fiber helps you get fuller faster, so the overall food intake is reduced . 

 

Is too much fiber bad?

Like any other food, always consume high-fiber foods in moderation.Too much fiber can cause abdominal distress, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Excess fiber also decreases absorption of essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron; this can develop into a mineraldeficiency. A more serious effect is an intestinal blockage, which occurs when you don’t consume enough water with your high-fiber foods. The fiber becomes sticky and can block your intestinal passage, causing severe pain.  

 

How much fiber should I have each day?

The recommended daily allowance of fiber varies with your age and gender. Women below the age of 50  should try to eat at least 25 grams of fiber in their daily diet, while similarly-aged men should consume at least 38 grams. For those older than 50,  the daily recommended allowance is 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Remember to drink at least five to eight cups of water each day for maximum benefit. Depending on your body type, age, and gender, you may have to increase your fiber intake above these recommended limits. Try not to consume more than 70 grams of fiber a day, as it can cause abdominal discomfort.

 

REFERENCES

 

  1. Veronese N, Solmi M, Caruso MG, Giannelli G, Osella AR, Evangelou E, Maggi S, Fontana L, Stubbs B, Tzoulaki I. Dietary fiber and health outcomes: an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2018 Mar 1;107(3):436-44.
  2. Yang J, Wang HP, Zhou L, Xu CF. Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta-analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG. 2012 Dec 28;18(48):7378.
  3. Slavin JL. Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition. 2005 Mar 1;21(3):411-8.