Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD
Dietary fiber is a form of carbohydrate found in plants that cannot be digested by humans. All plants contain fiber, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Fiber is often classified into two categories:
A high-fiber diet is often recommended to prevent and/or treat
irritable bowel syndrome, and
Eating a high-fiber diet can also help improve your cholesterol levels, lower your risk of
coronary heart disease, reduce your risk of
type 2 diabetes, and lower your weight. For people with type 1 or 2 diabetes, a high-fiber diet can also help stabilize blood sugar levels.
A high-fiber diet should contain
of fiber a day. This is actually the amount recommended for the general adult population; however, most Americans eat only 15 grams of fiber per day.
Eating a higher fiber diet than usual can take some getting used to by your body’s digestive system. To avoid the side effects of sudden increases in dietary fiber (eg, gas, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea), increase fiber gradually and be sure to drink plenty of fluids every day.
American Dietetic Association
Dietitians of Canada
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http://nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed December 9, 2009.
Dietary, functional, and total fiber. National Institute of Medicine website. Available at:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=339. Accessed December 9 , 2009.
Fiber. Harvard School of Public Health website. Available at:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fiber.html. Accessed January 12, 2006.
Fiber. The Linus Pauling Institute. Available at:
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/fiber/. Accessed January 12, 2006
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http://patienteducation.upmc.com/Pdf/FiberFacts.pdf. Accessed January 11, 2006.
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3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2001.
12/9/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Aune D, Chan DS, Lau R, et al. Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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