The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 25-35 grams per day. Despite this, the average American consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day. You may have heard fiber is important, but read on to learn more about why it matters in your diet.
What is fiber?
Fiber is the portion of plants that is not digested in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it stays in the intestine, aiding in digestion and contributing to stool consistency. Dietary fiber is categorized into soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
- Sources of soluble fiber: fruits, legumes, oats, and barley
- Sources of insoluble fiber: wheat, rye, grains, and many vegetables
What are the health effects of fiber?
- Decreased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. This is the leading cause of death in the United States and a diet high in soluble fiber decreases this risk by 40-50%.
- Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and improved glucose control in people with diabetes on a diet high in soluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber is beneficial for many digestive diseases including hemorrhoids, diarrhea, constipation, and diverticular disease.
Is there a downside to a high-fiber diet?