Fiber: How much do you need and how much fiber is too much?

Fiber. We need it. Many of us don’t get enough of it. So how much do you need? This can certainly vary from person to person, and some health concerns require more or less fiber. And there is also such thing as too much fiber!

Why do we need it?

Fiber helps bulk stool and make it easier to pass, which is particularly helpful for those with constipation. Fiber can help with loose stool too by absorbing water and forming the stool. Yep, we went right to the poo talk. But it’s not just about poo. Fiber can help maintain a healthy bowel, reducing the formation of pouches (diverticulosis), and reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber also helps reduce LDL cholesterol and can also help stabilize blood sugar.

How much should I be getting?

I often recommend somewhere between 25-35 grams of fiber per day, but this is also dependent on the person and their specific health needs. Most people are falling short of their fiber needs. We’ll talk about ways to up your fiber.

Well how much is too much fiber?

There is such a thing as too much fiber. There are diets that have wreaked havoc on people’s health because it was absurdly high in fiber. Too much fiber overall can cause digestive distress (think: bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or constipation), loss of appetite, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, to name a few. Also, if you increase the fiber in your diet too quickly, and without increasing your water intake along with it, it can cause some digestive issues too. Like most things nutrition, it’s different for everyone so working with a dietitian can help you figure out what’s best for your body.

So how do I get more?

I’ll say it again for those in the back, working with a dietitian can help you figure out if you need a change up in your fiber intake. Maybe you have high cholesterol and could benefit from beta glucans. Or maybe you have constipation and need insoluble fiber. Or you have loose stools and need soluble fiber. Or maybe you just want to know what foods contain fiber. We have compiled a list of foods just for you (scroll to the end to get your copy today!). If you’re looking for some recipes, keep reading for 15 delicious high-fiber dishes.

 

 

15 Recipes to Increase your Fiber

Chia seeds are a great source of nutrients and can be used in a variety of ways. If added to liquid, the chia seeds swell. They can make a unique drink, or can be added to thicken a food like oats or pudding.
 
refried bean and avocado  too much fiberquesadilla
 
Beans are an easy way to up your fiber, but did you know avocado is a good source of fiber too? These bean and avocado quesadillas are a favorite snack of mine!
It’s always pumpkin season in our house. We love this spicy, savory pumpkin soup and it even freezes well if you want to prep ahead! 
 
Most of us have had hummus but have you tried dessert hummus? This chickpea dip is like cookie dough. So good!
Chickpea salad is just like chicken salad, but using chickpeas instead of chicken. It’s a great option for a sandwich or wrap, or on greens for a tasty salad.
too much fiber
Oats and ground flaxseed give this dish its fiber. Peanut butter and jelly give it all its flavor. It’s a delicious way to start the day!
 
Can’t have oats because of a sensitivity? You can make hot “cereal” using a variety of grains, but you can also use riced cauliflower like in this recipe.
 
If you’re looking for an alternative to oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, look no further than chia seed pudding. The chia seeds plump up in the milk of choice and thicken. You can add spices and sweetener and top with fruit, nuts, nut butter, etc.
vegan protein snacks chickpeas
Chickpeas have fiber, we know that, but why roasted chickpeas? They get a satisfying crunchy texture when roasted or air-fried. Don’t have time to make it yourself? You can buy crispy chickpea snacks at the store.
I like creamy overnight oats with the addition of yogurt for protein. The oats and pumpkin provide; fiber, and it’s perfect for pumpkin season.
 
Cool weather is coming. Get ready with a hearty bowl of bean soup to warm you up and keep you full!
 
I love me a one pot meal. Less dishes, obvi. Quinoa and black beans are the sources of fiber here. I love to use quinoa as a starch for meals to change things up from the usual rice or pasta. 
More pumpkin? Well it’s October so I’m feeling it right now! Pumpkin (or you can use butternut squash instead), make this chili hearty and delicious.
pumpkin turkey chili too much fiber
Coconut and curry are a perfect combination. Have you ever made a lentil curry? The lentils will keep you full and satisfied. Serve it over rice for a tasty meal.
 
Hear me out. Yes, this has anchovies for flavor. But it’s unexpectedly delicious. I used chickpea pasta to give it a protein and fiber boost.

Too much is possible, but most people are not getting enough

Yes, too much fiber is possible, but in general, people are not getting enough fiber day to day. According to Harvard Health, on average, Americans are consuming half the recommended amount of fiber, about 10-15 grams per day. If you’re struggling to reach your fiber goals, check out our list of fiber foods!

 

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An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.