Know Your Fiber Facts

Understand the many benefits of fiber, how much you need and how to get started.

Dietary fiber is the part of plant-based foods your body doesn’t digest and diets high in fiber provide several health benefits including aiding regularity, weight management and even reducing the risks of certain diseases.

There are two types of dietary fiber used in the labeling of food products – both are important for good health.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in foods like beans and other legumes, fruits, and oat products.

Insoluble fiber is considered to be the “gut-healthy fiber” because it keeps the digestive system running smoothly and promotes regularity. It adds bulk, helping move food through the digestive tract, and can be found in whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, cereals made with whole grain and vegetables.

Manage your weight

Research suggests those with higher fiber intakes tend to have healthier body weights. Fiber helps satisfy your hunger, so it’s easier to eat less and lose weight without feeling as hungry. A breakfast rich in fiber is a great way to start your morning.

How much fiber?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans to consume more foods high in fiber. The adequate intake of fiber is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Most Americans do not get enough dietary fiber and intake averages only 15 grams per day.

Ease in to it

When you’re ready to increase the fiber in your diet, be sure to do it gradually. Over time your body will adjust to the positive change. One way to help is to drink plenty of water. Eight 8-oz glasses a day is a good number to shoot for.