You may have noticed fiber has been in the news a lot lately, and with good reason! Studies have linked a diet high in fiber with everything from improved digestive health and regularity to successful weight management and cardiovascular health.‡
More recently, researchers have discovered that many high-fiber foods are prebiotics, meaning they help nourish and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.‡ This is important, since up to 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, so healthy balance of bacteria there (meaning more good and neutral than harmful bacteria) is important for optimal health.‡ Below are a couple of the questions we hear most often about fiber.
How Much Fiber Should I Be Getting in My Diet?
The American Academy of Dietetics recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day to maintain good digestive and overall health.‡ Consuming more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake, but if you’re still having a hard time reaching 35 grams a day, add a high-quality with a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed, oat fiber and acacia fiber are great options.
Can I Take Fiber Supplements During a Cleanse?
Fiber supplements can be taken while cleansing and between cleanses to support good health.‡ As far as how many fiber grams to supplement, look for a fiber product to provide anywhere from 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving. Slowly incorporate your supplement into your cleansing routine, and be sure to increase water consumption too. You may want to also take your fiber supplement away from other supplements, including your cleansing components, by at least one hour.
Successful weight loss has a lot to do with what you put on your plate—especially if that plate includes plenty of fiber.‡ On top of countless other benefits including heart health and improved digestion and regularity, fiber has been shown to support weight management when included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.‡
In a recent study conducted by the University of Calgary, researchers found that when obese mice supplemented their daily diet with a prebiotic fiber source, they were more successful at losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight than those who were not fed fiber. What’s more, the gut bacteria of the fiber mice changed over time to resemble the gut bacteria of leaner mice, indicating the fiber source had a positive effect on gut bacteria.
Just How Does Fiber Help with Weight Loss?‡
Numerous studies have shown that fiber has unique appetite-suppressing properties.‡ It expands in the stomach, taking up more space and helping you feel full.‡ It also slows the digestive process to help you stay satisfied after meals, and it triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which tells the brain the stomach is full.‡ Foods high in fiber also help to “flush” unused calories from the body, essentially blocking their absorption and eliminating them via healthy bowel movements.‡
Are You Getting Your 35 Grams a Day?
Leading experts recommend consuming up to 35 grams of fiber every day, and eating more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is one of the best ways to increase your daily fiber intake. If you still find it a challenge to get 35 grams a day, may help. Look for a high-quality supplement that:
- contains a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber;
- is made with natural and organically grown ingredients;
- includes lignan-rich flax fiber, soluble acacia fiber, or natural chia seed; and
- is psyllium-free to prevent cramping, gas and/or bloating.