You’ve heard of that saying “too much of a good thing,” right?
Well this old cliché is true in the health world, too – especially when it comes to fiber.
While fiber is certainly an important part of your daily diet, too much fiber can actually have adverse health effects, causing you pain, making you bloat or even giving you gas.
In fact, fiber can even cause malabsorption, making it difficult for your body to absorb important minerals and vitamins.
All in all, overdoing it on your fiber intake can cause:
- Gas & flatulence – One of the biggest problems that comes with too much fiber is gas. The natural bacteria in your digestive tract reacts to the fiber, producing gas within your intestines. This is released as gross, smelly flatulence on the other end.
- Constipation – When you ingest fiber, you need plenty of water, too, to help move things through your digestive tract. Without enough water in the system, you can get stopped up, leading to discomfort and constipation. If blockages get too severe, they can even require hospitalization or surgery.
- Malabsorption & malnutrition – Fiber is designed to bind to other foods, and when you ingest too much, it often binds to important nutrients and minerals that your body needs. Then, these are passed as waste instead of being absorbed by your intestines. Overtime, this can lead to a deficiency in calcium, zinc, iron and other important nutrients.
- Cramping & discomfort – When your body can’t properly break down fiber – or it gets overwhelmed by too much – it causes abdominal cramping. Depending on where you are when it happens, this can be extremely disruptive to daily life.
- Diarrhea – Fiber is known to help you keep bowel movements regular, but too much fiber and your body won’t know how to adjust. It will speed up your digestive system significantly, causing uncomfortable diarrhea and bowel problems.
Though fiber is a crucial part of any healthy diet, like anything else in life, too much of it can hurt you. Take steps to ensure you’re not overdoing it on the fiber, and eat a balanced, well-portioned diet on a daily basis.
How Much is Too Much?
For the average person, the recommended dosage of fiber is 20 to 40 grams daily. Additionally, fiber should be supplemented by at least 8 full glasses of water a day, and you should take steps to avoid fermented foods and drinks, as these can make bloating and gas even worse.
If you’re starting to watch your health, want to lose weight or are looking to get fit, it’s likely you’ll start consuming more fiber than your body’s used to. Fiber is a major component in most fruits, vegetables and grains, and it’s essential to good health.
The important thing is to monitor your consumption, and eat your fiber in moderation. You should also work on increasing your fiber intake gradually – not all at once – to prevent your body from harmful overload.
Have questions about how much fiber you should be consuming? Need help working fiber into your diet? Share your concerns in the comments. I’m here to help!