The Dietary Fiber Gap
The FDA recommended intake of dietary fiber is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. In other words, an average female should consume 25 gram fiber per day compared to 35 gram per day consumption for an average male.
More than 90% Americans do not get the recommended amounts of dietary fiber from their daily diets and need to increase fiber intake substantially. While it is rare for someone to have “too much fiber”; it could happen if you take too much of a fiber supplement too quickly.
To fill in the “fiber gap”, many consumers add a fiber supplement to their daily regimen. According to some experts, some fiber supplements can cause problems as the formulas have a low fiber diversity, are often heavily processed, and frequently add gut health harming industrial ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, perfumes, or dyes. These could increase the risk of side effects like abdominal cramps, flatulence, and diarrhea.
5 Easy Tips to Increase Your Dietary Fiber Intake
- Tip # 1: Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to increase fiber intake. Simply put; try to eat fiber coming from a variety of natural sources.
- Tip # 2: Space out your fiber intake throughout the day. This will help you minimize the side effects.
- Tip # 3: If you are adding dietary fiber with a supplement or have recently started with a fiber-rich diet, start slow and make a gradual increment in your daily fiber intake. Start with the daily intake of 14-16 grams and make a 15-20% increase per week till you hit the maximum daily intake. Alternatively, once you are comfortable with one level of fiber intake, you can then move to a higher level.
- Tip # 4: Stay hydrated and exercise regularly. This helps minimize the side effects of higher fiber intake.
- Tip # 5: Differentiate between different fiber supplements based on their solubility, fermentability, prebiotic effects, and fiber diversity. If your goal is to nourish the beneficial bacteria needed for great gut health, choose a supplement with high fiber diversity and strong prebiotic fiber benefits.
Johnson W. McRorie, Jr. Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits. Nutr Today. 2015 Mar; 50(2): 82–89.