Fiber is one of the nutrients most of us have in our daily intake since most of the widely consumed foods as well as preferred desserts are made using ingredients that require grains and other sources in their recipes. Y
But, did you know that it is also possible to consume a higher than needed quantity of fiber?
Though that can actually happen to people who have a very high intake of a fiber of certain health conditions, the effects of it are not as severe as they are in case of a lower than needed fiber intake unless a person has other health issues.
The requirement of fiber by the body is actually a fluid figure. It can vary from person to person and from day to day depending on a number of factors including how much fiber you have been generally getting and how hectic has your routine been.
So, how can you get too much fiber and how can it affect your health?
High amounts of fiber in the diet has been originally linked to better health as it lowers the risk of arteriosclerosis and other heart conditions, diabetes, and a number of other degenerative diseases generally.
Looking at the diets of an average American, many people assume that the majority will meet their nutritional demand of fiber or will have too much of it. On the contrast, the intake of fiber in the average American is 15 grams.
15 grams of fiber in the diet is actually not enough. An average person needs more fiber than that to maintain health and keep the risks of dangerous health conditions such as heart diseases far away.
In accordance with the Institute of Medicine and American Heart Association, the daily requirement of fiber by the body is:
- 19 grams for the age group of 1-3 years
- 25 grams for the age group of 4-8 years
- 26 grams for the age group 9-18 years (females)
- 31 grams for the age group 9-13 years (males)
- 38 grams for the age group 14-50 years (males)
- 25 grams for the age group 19-50 (females)
- 21 grams for the over 50 age group (males)
- 30 grams for the over 50 age group (females)
The studies conducted on fiber and its need by the body suggest the intake of fiber to be around 14 grams for every 1000 calories consumed and not 14 grams a whole day. The standard diet of 2000 calories in men and women would somewhere be around 28-29 grams.
Is the intake of fiber really that important?
The answer would be yes, the intake of fiber is as important as fulfilling the need of all other nutrients needed by the body. The latest research published in 2016 has shown that less intake of fiber can lead to negative effect on the gut microbiome.
This is also important because it can cause less diverse colony of the healthy bacteria into your future children. This can be a significant example of how epigenetics can be affected by the lifestyle as well as the diet of a person.
Most of the people at this point would be wondering if the intake of fiber is so important, how can anyone consume too much of it?
Eating too much fiber is seen in people who try to eat fiber to avoid the problems caused by low intake of fiber. Yes, you read that right. Often, diet-conscious people consume about 40-50 grams of fiber consistently.
The symptoms of high fiber intake in this case soon start appearing. It is also a common condition seen in people who add fiber too fast in their diets or take fiber supplements.
This means that if you suddenly add fiber supplements and take fiber-rich food along with it a day after you realize you are not taking enough of it without other diet changes, you can probably ending up overdosing on it.
The signs of it will be very visible and normally include diarrhea, bloating, constipation, dehydration, gas, mineral deficiency along with abdominal pains. Sometimes, you might even develop acid reflux or some of the serious issues like GERD and intestinal blockage.
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While it is good to make dietary changes to fulfill your fiber intake, it is always suggested to take things slow and consult a doctor before taking any type of supplements especially if you have other health conditions.