Formula Medical Group
Apple Valley, CA

James Krider, MD

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Fiber - how much do I need?

50 grams total fiber every day with 50% as soluble fiber.

By now you have learned about fiber in general, how much fiber Americans are currently (not) consuming and why fiber is important in good health. But, how much of what type of fiber do you really need?

The total amount of fiber, soluble and insoluble combined, that I recommend is 50 grams per day. Wow, that’s a lot, especially considering that we currently consume only 12-15 grams, if that. Why so much?

All the reviewed research studies defined high-fiber as 50 grams/day and moderate-fiber as 25 grams/day. The studies on cardiovascular disease used around 25-40 grams per day. The cholesterol studies used about 35 grams. The cholesterol study that showed the greatest reduction of LDL used 55 grams/1000 kcal, which would be over 100 grams of fiber per day! Studies on weight loss ranged from 25 grams/day to over 100 grams of fiber per day.

The National Cancer Institute recommends that we consume 20-30 grams per day for a 2,000-calorie diet, 10-25 grams of soluble fiber. The National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the American Heart Association both recommend 20-30 grams per day, “rich in soluble fiber”.

The American Dietetic Association, ADA also recommends 25 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet, 30 grams for a 2,500 calorie diet.

Finally, the American Diabetes Association recommendation for persons with diabetes is 25-50 grams per day! Include oats and barley; whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas; brown rice, dry beans, peas, and lentils; nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Eat as much fruit as you want.

The most desirable type of fiber is soluble. It has shown the clearest relationship to lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, controlling diabetes and is equal to insoluble fiber for constipation and other bowel related problems. The problem is that it is much harder to obtain high quantities of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does provide bowel related benefits AND the more fiber you consume, the fuller you feel, allowing you to maintain weight loss with less effort. This means you will probable eat less fatty and nutrient poor foods.

Sources of Fiber

Soluble Fiber

Insoluble Fiber

Whole grain cereals and seeds – barley; oatmeal; oatbran; and psyllium seeds
Fruits – apples; bananas; blackberries; citrus; nectarines; peaches; pears; plums; and prunes
Legumes – black, kidney, lima, navy, northern, and pinto beans; yellow, green, and orange lentils; and chickpeas and black-eyed peas
Vegetables – broccoli; Brussels sprouts; and carrots

Whole-grain foods – Wheat and corn bran
Fruits – apples and pears with the skins
Vegetables – green beans, cauliflower, and potatoes with the skins

As you can see in the above table many foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber. As a rule, fruits have more soluble fiber and vegetables more insoluble fiber.

Alright, we are almost there. As you can see you need a lot of fiber. Will you actually eat 50 grams every day, no. This is a goal and probably not reality. Even the research studies had a hard time getting people past 30 grams for prolonged periods of time. But, if you set your sights low, you will never realize benefits. Aim high!

Next, we will look at various ways to achieve these fiber recommendations.

This article was last reviewed January 4, 2006 by Dr. James Krider.

Different fibers
Fiber and health
How much fiber
More fiber

Table, fiber, simple
How to get your fiber

detailed fiber tables of 228 common foods

Legumes, Nuts & Seeds

Quick table with commerical brands of cereal

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