Fiber is one of the key macronutrients, along with fat and protein, that you should be getting at every meal. If you’re trying to eat healthy, maybe you’re consciously packing more into your diet. But is it possible to have too much fiber? And could it be the reason you have uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms?
It’s actually pretty hard to overdo it on fiber and most people aren’t eating enough. The average American eats 5 to 10 grams of fiber, but you should really be getting between 25 to 50 grams.
We’re getting too little fiber in our diets because we’re eating too much processed food, such as cookies, cakes, pretzels, and crackers—all of those things that have been pulverized into a flour and turned into something else.
Fiber helps fight inflammation, promotes healthy bowel movements, and balances blood sugar. It can also help prevent colon cancer and prevent and control heart disease.
To get more fiber in your diet, try to eat whole foods and skip the processed foods.
If you’ve been eating very little fiber, go slow as you start to introduce more fiber-rich foods, eating a little more every couple of days. Otherwise, you might experience stomach issues like diarrhea, constipation, or bloating. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will also reduce your chances of gastrointestinal issues as you increase your fiber intake. Follow these guidelines and you shouldn’t have an issue with eating too much fiber.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.