Too much fiber in diet

Is too much fiber good for you

After consuming raw vegetables and salads have you every experienced uneasiness, bloating, diarrhea symptoms? Probably it is because you have consumed too much dietary fiber. Is too much fiber good for you and what is the daily recommended fiber intake for both men and women ?

What are fibers: Fibers are present in -fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, present in foods as added ingredients in granola or protein bars as high fiber contents (example -, oat fiber, beet fiber, corn and soy fiber). There are two main types of fiber and both play different role in digestion

  1. Insoluble fiber: Helps food pass quickly through digestive system and adds bulk to stool. It also helps in pH balance, prevents inflammation, diverticulitis and colon cancer. Insoluble fiber present in root vegetables like carrots, radish, beets, fruit skins, whole grains food.
  2. Soluble fiber: It absorbs water and becomes gel like substance with food. Helps to feel full quick and plays important role in weight management, blood sugar, cholesterol. Soluble fiber present in oats, beans, Brussels sprouts, oranges, seeds, apples.

Both these fibers get fermented in our digestive systems with help of bacteria and help bacteria to be active in colon and thus helps in digestion. Soluble fiber gets more fermented than insoluble fiber. Onion, garlic, banana, barley, leeks are examples of few fermentable fibers.

Fiber recommendation for men, women, young adults, children are:

Men:

  • Adults (50 years and below): 38 grams
  • Adults (over 50): 30 grams

Women:

  • Adults (50 years and below): 25 grams
  • Adults (over 50) :21 grams

Other age groups:

  • Children 1 to 3 years 19 g
  • Children4 to 8 years 25 g
  • Children 9 to 13 years 26 g (female), 31 g (male)
  • Adolescents 14 to 18 years 26 g (female), 38 g (male)

What happens when you consume too much fiber?

Consuming too much fiber (above 50 and 70 grams) results in certain symptoms and can be uncomfortable for the system. Too much fiber in system limits absorption of important minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. This leads to deficiency of these minerals in the body. After consuming fiber if we don’t drink enough water it results in intestinal blockage.

  • Decrease in appetite and feeling fullness
  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation, cramping and/or diarrhea
  • Inability to consume enough energy due to weight loss
  • Irritation in bowel system due to undigested fiber
  • Nausea, vomiting, inability to pass gas or stool – are some serious conditions associated with intake of too much fiber.

How to address if one develops these above symptoms?

If you are feeling full and suffering from any of the above symptoms, then reduce your fiber intake according to your age.

Do not consume additional and added fibers. Those added fibers present in cereal bars can harm your GI system more than natural ones.

Skip those foods that are responsible for gas, bloating and stomach cramps.

Instead of raw vegetables, eat cooked vegetables. If you feel that your weight is increasing even after exercising and eating vegetables, then go for cooked vegetables with less salt or no salt and drink recommended amount of water.

Fiber content in our regular foods:

  • Oatmeal – cup =8 grams
  • Almonds – 2 Tbsp = 1 grams
  • Raisins – 2 Tbsp = 1 grams
  • Whole grain bread – 2 slices = 8 grams
  • Whole wheat bread – 1 slice = 2 grams
  • Carrots – 1 cup = 3 grams
  • Apple with skin– 1 medium size = 4.5 grams
  • Banana – 1 medium =3 grams
  • Orange – 1 medium =3 grams
  • Lentil – 1 cup =16 grams
  • Black bean – 1 cup = 15 grams
  • Quinoa – 1 cup cooked =6 grams
  • Brown rice – 1 cup cooked =3.5 grams
  • Kale – 1 cup cooked = 3 gram
  • Brussels sprout – 1 cup boiled = 4 grams
  • Sweet corn – 1 cup boiled =3.5 grams
  • Popcorn = 2 cups = 2 grams

These are few examples only. Find out how much fiber present in food that you eat daily, regularly. Accordingly, you can decide the intake amount that should be included in your diet.

References:


Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: January 31, 2019

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