Many Americans fail to meet daily fiber requirements, according to a review published in 2009 in Nutrition Reviews. While it’s possible to get all the fiber you need by eating fiber-rich foods, supplementation may be beneficial.
What Are the Benefits of Fiber?
Fiber provides numerous health benefits when eaten in recommended amounts. Fiber aids in healthy weight management and lowers your risk for developing stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and some gastrointestinal diseases, notes the 2009 review in Nutrition Reviews. A review published in 2012 in Metabolism notes that fiber helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and may help improve mood, memory, and immune function.
Should I Take Supplements?
If you’re not getting enough fiber from foods or are trying to lose weight, ask your doctor about taking fiber supplements. A review published in 2012 in Current Obesity Reports notes that fiber supplements aid in healthy weight management, and the 2009 review in Nutrition Reviews found that fiber supplementation enhances weight loss.
Do Fiber Supplements Pose Health Risks?
Check with your doctor before taking fiber supplements, especially if you’re taking any medications. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that fiber supplements affect the absorption of certain medications, can cause gas or bloating, and may lead to choking or constipation if you don’t drink plenty of water. The same source encourages you to always drink an 8-ounce glass of water with fiber supplements, and drink lots of water throughout the day when taking such supplements.
How Much Fiber Do I Need?
To reap the health benefits of fiber, aim to get 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, suggests MedlinePlus and the University of Maryland Medical Center. The 2009 review in Nutrition Reviews recommends consuming 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat — which equates to 28 grams daily when eating 2,000 calories per day, and 35 grams of fiber when following a 2,500-calorie meal plan. If you’re not meeting fiber recommendations by eating fiber-rich foods, supplements may be a good idea.
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