December 24, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Fiber

I have a question I was hoping to get your take on.

Recent news advocate a higher consumption of fiber. In response, there seems to be an overwhelming array of new products supplemented with additional fiber.

I have noticed that 25 - 35 grams per day is deemed ideal, but with these new products, it is very easy to go over that figure.

I have estimated my total intake to be as high as 60 grams a day sometimes.

Is it dangerous to consume too much fiber? Should I be worried about vitamin absorption?

-- Susan (last name unknown)
Via the blog

Fiber recommendations have been around for decades. The 25 - 35 grams per day guideline is not as new as many people think.

What has emerged over the past few years are new studies highlighting the importance of fiber in the diet.

Some people erroneously believe that if "x" amount of fiber is beneficial to health, then twice or three times as much is even better!

Not quite.

Although 25 - 35 grams are the standard recommendation, the majority of adults can take in as many as 50 grams without any negative health consequences.

Your body is sure to let you know when you've had too much of a good thing.

In the case of excessive fiber intake, the symptoms to look for includes abdominal pain, very loose stools, bloating, and persistent gassiness.

Mind you, those symptoms can also show up if you are suddenly increasing your fiber intake (say, from 10 grams a day to 25 grams a day) or if your diet is high in fiber but very low in liquids.

I am not a big fan of extremely high fiber cereals like All Bran.

Although they can provide as much as 80% of daily fiber needs in one sitting, I would much rather people spread out their fiber throughout the day and get it from foods that naturally contain it (as opposed to added on in copious amount during processing.)

Excessive fiber intakes don't tend to inhibit vitamin absorption; iron and calcium absorption is most heavily impacted.

1 comment:

teenageveggiehead said...

i couldn't agree with you more!
those cereals just seem like too much to me.