Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Fiber: Why you need it!

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You probably are not surprised that most people do not get enough fiber. In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans are not meeting the recommended amounts. A lack of fiber results in irregularity of bowel movements, but there are also numerous health benefits to getting your daily dose.

How much?
Men 50 and under: 38 grams daily
Men 51 and older: 30 grams daily

Women 50 and under: 25 grams daily
Women 51 and older: 21 grams daily

What is it?
Fiber is found in plant foods, and it is actually the part of the plant that your body does not digest or absorb. That means it is not digested, and the result is in increase in the bulk of your stool. Fiber comes in two forms:
Soluble fiber (think sponge): Dissolves into a gel-like material and has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol and regulate glucose. Soluble fiber is found in psyllium husk (found in bars and fiber supplements), oats, barley, beans, apples, carrots, and citrus fruits.

Insoluble fiber (think broom): Increases bulk in the stool to keep things moving. Great for a solution to constipation or irregularity. Insoluble fiber is found in bran, whole wheat products, nuts, and most fruits and vegetables.
Both kinds of fiber are good! Eat a variety of high fiber foods to get the most benefit.

Benefits of high fiber diet
  • Keep you regular, preventing constipation
  • Reduce risk of gastrointestinal diseases and conditions
  • Lower blood cholesterol
  • Control blood sugar (glucose)
  • Fills you up! May help with weight loss because it staves off hunger
  • May reduce risk of certain cancers (specifically colon)

One of the ways I get a lot of fiber is with high fiber cereals. For example, All Bran is great because you can get 40% or more of your fiber in just one serving (depending on which product you choose and how much you need for the day). In fact, All Bran has a 10 day promise that encourages people to use any All Bran product for 10 days and witness the benefits!

There are a lot of different ways to get fiber:

When you try All Bran cereal, don't think of just cereal. There are over 400 ways to eat All Bran! You can use it instead of croutons, crush it up and use it to bread chicken or fish, make yummy baked goods like cakes and cookies and muffins....the possibilities are endless! Check out their recipes here!
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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