Why is fiber so important? And is there such thing as too much?

unnamedAn article recently ran on www.everydayhealth.com that proposed a question we all, from doctors to patients alike, wonder: If some fiber is essential, can too much pose a problem? We realize not many people tally up their fiber intake every day, as they should, to avoid constipation and other digestive issues. People don’t usually turn to fiber until it’s too late and a digestive issue is already in the works. But when patients are told to take fiber relieve or prevent a condition, can they go over board?


The Good

Dietary fiber, a term used combining insoluble and soluble fibers, is found particularly in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. It is proven that dietary fiber helps keep bowel movements regular. Those who consume high amounts of fiber have less constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticula than those who eat a low fiber diet. Retaining water is key to combat constipation, and dietary fiber helps the body retain the water we drink and eat throughout the day. Not just the digestive tract is benefited by fiber, writes Doctor Seth Rosen. High fiber diets are also part of a low cholesterol, heart-healthy diet.

How Much Fiber Is Enough?

It is often thought that we need to eat 35 to 40 percent of fiber from our diet. Unfortunately, studies show we eat 10 percent of less.

The Issues

With so many health benefits of fiber, what can possibly go wrong? Too much fiber can result in loose stools, bloating, and excess gas says the article. An interviewed doctor, Lisa Pichney explains that too much fiber can result in unwanted gas production, despite it’s benefits of helping colonic lubrication and transit. Similarly, Dr. Seth Rosen cites that it is extremely rare that individuals exceed their fiber intake, but that doing say may result in gas and bloating.

The Conclusion

The article, gastroenterologists, and many others agree fiber is crucial for overall health, not just digestive health. With proper hydration during your fiber intake, the side effects of gas and bloating can be minimalized and your digestive system will be in functioning order.