We have all seen the absolute greatest commercial ever made. You know what I am talking about. A woman who is having an issue being unable to lose weight goes to her doctor to find a solution. The Doctor suggests Metamucil! Just take a scoop from this orange container, mix with water and suddenly you lose weight. Plus, it tastes good! So, How Much Fiber Should We Eat in a Day?
Is Fiber All It Is Cracked Up to Be
Fiber (Or Fibre, for those of us across the pond) is a common Macronutrient found in a variety of foods. The best-known sources of Fiber would be grains, legumes and vegetables. The benefits of fiber are even more well know, and have been for hundreds of years. If you want to learn the whole scoop on Fiber, you should look at our Fiber Article under Nutrition.
Back to the question, yes, Fiber is all that and a bag of chips. Its benefits range from cellular repair in our intestines to bacterial regulation. Basically, if you want normal stomach and digestive function, you need fiber. It is the proverbial oil your stomach needs to process food. This is the problem; most Americans only eat 15 grams of Fiber a day.
How much Fiber Should We Eat in a Day
There are two commonly tossed around rough estimates. First, the simplest, and that is 14 grams per 1,000 calories you eat. The problem with this is variance between genders is not existent. This also does not account for special conditions such as digestive conditions. But in general, it is a good start. If you follow normal dietary guidelines on food labels (You shouldn’t) it assumes a person should eat 2,000 calories a day. This means when you see a Fiber estimate, it assumes you should eat 28 grams a day.
The other estimate is just a hard rule. The rule has two parts. One is men should eat 38 grams of Fiber. Two is women should eat 25 grams of Fiber. This is more in line with assumptions of how many calories a man and woman subsequently actually eat, and takes into consideration people do not like to count calories. No one likes it, and most people are awful at counting calories. For that reason, I suggest going with the second estimate, either 38 or 25 grams.
Fiber is a Prebiotic?
Kind of, sort of. Prebiotics (Not to be confused for Probiotics) are just a fancy way to market Fiber in my opinion. They are the same thing. No need to fall for fancy marketing, or assume you need a magic number of Prebiotics in addition to your Fiber supplementation.
Should I supplement Fiber?
Maybe. Although it is something I do suggest for weight loss, you should get enough from your food. If you are eating enough vegetables such as Broccoli, and healthy grains like whole grain pasta, you should have enough Fiber in your diet to not need to take an additional supplement. If can help you lose weight by making you full, but the truth is you do not need it. We cover where and how to get your daily dose of Fiber in our article, The Full Scoop on Fiber.
Find all the resources used in this article and the scientific basis of all our article at The Science Behind Fitness.