Experts on Fiber

The health benefits of dietary fiber are widely recognized by experts in the scientific community and by government authorities.  For example, the European Food Safety Authority Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies noted in its Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fiber (2010) that there is evidence of health benefits in adults associated with consumption of diets rich in fiber-containing foods at dietary fiber intakes greater than 25 grams/day, e.g. reduced risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes and weight maintenance.

Frequently, the health-related properties of dietary fiber are expressed in terms of physiological effects that have well established links to disease risk reduction. These include effects such as a decrease in intestinal transit time with an increase in stool bulk, colonic microbial fermentation, reduction in blood total and/or LDL cholesterol levels, reduction in postprandial blood glucose levels, and weight reduction through a lower caloric contribution to the diet. It is important to consume a variety of fibers for their unique effects for maximized health.

These and similar physiological effects that benefit overall human health serve as a basis for the recognition of a substance as a dietary fiber in several key global definitions, including the European Directive (in 2008), Codex Alimentarius (2009), and the Institute of Medicine (2005).

Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. In addition, intake of dietary fiber has beneficial effects on risk factors for developing several chronic diseases.

American Dietetic Association

Eating the right amount of fiber has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits. Foods that are high in fiber can help in the treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis (the inflammation of pouches in the digestive tract) and irritable bowel syndrome. Dietary fiber may also help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

American Academy of Physicians

When eaten regularly as part of a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, soluble fiber has been associated with increased diet quality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Soluble or viscous fibers modestly reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol beyond levels achieved by a diet low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol alone.

American Heart Association

Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, and you should get a least 20 grams a day, more is better.

Harvard School of Public Health

Fabulous Fiber: What It Is, What It Does, and Where To Get It

If a healthful diet were a high-fashion wardrobe, dietary fiber would be the sensible shoes.  And, like sensible shoes, fiber isn’t glamorous, but it can take you where you need to go. What is dietary fiber?  Dietary fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that has two forms: insoluble and soluble. Humans don’t have the … Continue reading

Dietary Fiber: Essential for Good Health

By Keri Peterson, MD — Dietary fiber is an essential part of our diet and plays an important role for our health. What is fiber? Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods and grains that our body cannot digest, so it passes through our intestines rather than being absorbed. It can be … Continue reading

Focus on Fiber during Family Meals Month

With school back in session, it’s important to make sure that you and your children are getting enough fiber. September is also family meals month, so this is the perfect time to focus on adding more fiber to family mealtimes. The Dietary Reference Intakes recommend that adult males consume at least 38 grams of fiber … Continue reading

Refuel and Recover: Don’t Forget the Fiber

It’s no secret that most people don’t get enough fiber in their daily diets. But did you know that Americans consume only about HALF of the recommended amount (which is about 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men) per day? Endurance athletes are especially susceptible to inadequate fiber intake when they … Continue reading