Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, and most Americans don’t meet the daily recommendations. A less common problem is a person eating too much fiber too quickly, which can cause digestive issues. It’s important to get the right amount of fiber each day, spread throughout the day.
Fiber-rich foods are an essential part of a healthy weight loss diet, and meeting the recommended daily allowances of fiber can provide many health benefits.
Here are some fiber tips for weight loss, as well as tips to help you stick to a healthy daily fiber intake.
Daily fiber intake
Most people don’t meet the recommended amount of fiber they should include in their diet. Fiber is the carbohydrate component of plant foods that is not digested or absorbed as it passes through the intestine. The optimal amount of fiber to consume daily varies depending on a person’s age and gender.
Approximate daily fiber intake:
adult men need about 34 grams (g) depending on their age
adult women need about 28g, depending on their age.
Fiber intakes are modified for certain groups because energy needs vary according to the stages of life. For example, it is recommended that children consume less than adults, with the following lower and upper limits representing women and men respectively:
teenagers aged 14-18 need 25.2-30.8g
teens 9-13 years old need 22.4-25.2g
children 4-8 years old need 16.8-19.6 g
children from 1 to 3 years old need 14 g
We do not consume enough dietary fiber with an average intake of 16 g per day.
On the other hand, eating too much fiber can cause bloating, gas, and constipation. These side effects may appear after consuming 70 g of fiber per day. Excessive fiber intake is uncommon, while insufficient fiber intake is a real health problem.
Recommended fiber intake for weight loss
Eating fiber-rich foods can help curb cravings and promote weight loss. People who want to lose weight are often encouraged to eat fiber-rich foods because they tend to be low in calories, high in nutrients, and make a person feel full longer. By adding bulk and slowing digestion, fiber keeps a person from feeling hungry and minimizes cravings, which is helpful when trying to lose weight.
It is estimated that only 5% of Europeans meet their daily fiber needs. Eating more dietary fiber, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. However, simply increasing fiber, primarily by eating more plant-based foods, is not enough on its own to lose weight.
When trying to lose weight, start by striving to meet the recommended daily allowance by basing your meals on fiber-rich foods and exercising regularly.
Be careful with the promises of high-fiber dietary supplements that promote weight loss. There is very little evidence to support these claims.
How much fiber is too much?
When increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, it’s best to start slowly, increasing it gradually to give the digestive system time to get used to it.
It is not recommended to consume too much fiber, especially very quickly or in a short period of time. Eating more than 70g per day is not advised and may cause adverse effects. The consequences of excessive fiber consumption are as follows:
bloating, gas and cramps
nutrient deficiencies, including calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as fiber can limit their absorptionTrusted Source
risk of blockage of the intestine if one consumes too much fiber and not enough liquid.
Types of fibers
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber, called cellulose, does not dissolve in water but increases the movement of waste through the digestive tract, which helps prevent constipation. Soluble fibers include pectin and beta-glucans. They dissolve in water to form a gel in the large intestine. High-fiber foods generally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Healthy sources of fiber include
fruits, such as berries, apples, prunes, and figs
vegetables, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower
whole grains, such as barley, quinoa, and wild rice
whole wheat or grain bread
nuts, including almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and pecans
seeds, including ground flaxseed, chia, and pumpkin
legumes such as beans, lentils and peas
Prebiotics are naturally present in foods such as leeks, asparagus, garlic, onions, wheat, oats and soybeans.
The benefits of fiber
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet and has many benefits, including
improve digestive health
prevention of constipation
reduce the risk of heart disease
reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
reduce the risk of colon cancer
reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol
improved glycemic index (GI) in people with diabetes
increased satiety or feeling full longer.
Fiber also contains the prebiotics fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. Prebiotics have a beneficial effect because they promote the growth and action of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the intestine, and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
The best way to ensure fiber intake is to eat a variety of foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Eating more plant-based meals, switching to whole grains, and snacking on fruits throughout the day helps to reach the recommended daily allowance. People who do not consume a lot of fiber should gradually increase the amount over several weeks to limit gas and discomfort. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and always chew food slowly and thoroughly. It takes time for the gastrointestinal system and gut to adjust to changes, including increased fiber intake, but the end changes are all positive.