Why do we need fiber and how much fiber per day is required?

why do we need fiber and how much fiber per day

Have you ever wondered why do we need fiber and if so, how much fiber per day is required?

In this article we will answer both questions.

But first we need to understand that there are two types of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble means it dissolves in water and insoluble means it does not dissolve in water. Which one do we need? We need both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber on a daily basis. They are both needed for a healthy digestive system, but for different reasons. The soluble fiber promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive track and insoluble fiber promotes regularity.

Here is a 48 second video clip by nutrition expert, Susan Bowerman, answering the question, why do we need fiber and explaining the different types of fiber.

Susan furthermore said, “Most of us don’t eat as much fiber as we should, which is too bad since it offers so many benefits. Fiber, of course, helps move the digestive process along. High fiber foods are also filling, and fiber supports the growth of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract. But not all fibers function exactly the same way, which is why we often talk about two types of fiber; soluble fibers and insoluble fibers.

As the name suggests, soluble fibers are just that; they dissolve in water. And when these fibers dissolve, they thicken up. If you’ve ever cooked oatmeal at home, you probably noticed that

why do we need fiber and how much fiber per day

as it cooks, it gets thick and gluey. That’s because the soluble fiber in the oats is dissolving in the liquid, which makes your oatmeal a little sticky. When these fibers come in contact with the liquid in your stomach, they swell up and thicken, so they help keep you full. Soluble fiber is also the type of fiber that the healthy bacteria in your lower digestive tract like to feed on, which encourages these friendly bacteria to multiply.

Insoluble fibers also support the health of your digestive tract, but in a different way. Insoluble fibers don’t dissolve in water; instead, they simply absorb water in the lower tract, which makes the fiber more bulky. This type of fiber, which is found in most vegetables and whole grains, speeds the passage of waste through your digestive system, so it helps to keep you regular.

Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but it’s actually fairly easy to tell the two fibers apart. When you make barley soup or boil potatoes, you can easily see how the liquid thickens up — that’s because barley and potatoes are high in soluble fiber. When you cook brown rice, which is rich in insoluble fiber, it doesn’t get sticky, it simply absorbs water as it cooks, causing the grains to swell up.

Take a look at how canned corn compares to canned beans. Both of these are packed in water, but the liquids look different. Corn is a grain and most of its fiber is insoluble, which is why the liquid from the can looks pretty much like water — it isn’t thick or sticky or gluey. But if you look at these canned beans that were packed in water, you can see that the liquid is much thicker. That’s because the water-soluble fiber in the beans has thickened up the liquid that the beans are packed in.

Since your body needs both types of fiber, it’s best to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Not only will you get both types of fiber, you’ll also benefit from the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that these healthy foods contain.”

Apart from the above mentioned reasons, there are also numerous specific health reasons why we need fiber every day in our diets. A simple Google search will show you exactly what sickness and disease it helps prevent. Medical practitioners agree that most illness and disease has it’s origin in the gut; in the digestive system.

If we can eat ourselves sick, it stands to reason that we can eat ourselves healthy.

 

This brings us to the second question.

How much fiber per day is required?

According to the Institute of Medicine in the United States (USA), the adequate intake (AI) for total fiber is set at 38 and 25 grams per day for young men and women respectively, based on the observed intake level to protect against coronary heart disease. However, it was found that the median intakes of dietary fiber ranged from 16.5 to 17.9 grams per day for men and 12.1 to 13.8 grams per day for women. This poses a serious health problem: Americans, both male and female, are not getting adequate amounts of fiber per day.

In the United Kingdom (UK), the picture does not look much better. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the government recommended in 2015 that the population’s fiber intake should be increased to 30 grams per day for adults. They found that on average, the Britons are consuming only about 18 grams of fiber per day. They also found that the fiber intake in children are way too low as well.  So, how much fiber per day is required for Britons? Here are their recommendations:

Age (years)

2-5

5-11

11-16

17 and over

Recommended intake of fiber

15g per day

20g per day

25g per day

30g per day

According to the Cancer Council Australia, Australian women are recommended to eat 25g of fiber per day and men 30g of fiber per day. They recognised the fact that it is important to include different types of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. But are they? Sadly, no.

Why do we need fiber?

To keep us healthy!

How much fiber do we need?

Men need at least 30-40 grams of fiber per day.

Women need at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day.

Question:

If our current daily diets do not give us sufficient or adequate amounts of fiber per day, how can we solve this problem?

Answer:

Supplement.

Fiber Supplements are bountiful in the market place, but not all supplements are created equally. Herbalife is the number company in the Health and Wellness Industry in the World, and has a successful track record since February 1980. The Herbalife brand is trusted around the world and is known for it’s superior quality.

In a previous article, we have featured the Digestive Health Products by Herbalife, and we are not going to repeat it here. Needless to say, in our family, which includes a medical doctor, we exclusively supplement on the Herbalife range of products and their digestive health products are simply superb.

We all need to stay regular, so we all need adequate amounts of insoluble fiber per day.

We all need a healthy gut with healthy bacteria, and therefore we all need and adequate amount of soluble fiber each day.

Here are certain food types, and the amount of fiber you can expect to get from it if you incorporate it in your daily diet:

how much fiber per day

With a supplement range like the Herbalife range, you can increase your daily soluble and insoluble fiber intake and push it above the adequate levels to insure optimum digestive health, in an easy, simple way. If you incorporate the Herbalife Digestive Products in your daily diet, you are good to go!

The Herbalife shake is a well known product around the world.

Here is a recipe for Fiber Loaded Shake. It is called the High Fiber Caramel Apple Herbalife Shake

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) water
  • 2 scoops Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix
  • 2 scoops Herbalife Protein Drink Mix, Vanilla flavor
  • 1 scoop Herbalife Active Fiber Complex, Apple flavor
  • 1/2 apple- medium, cored and chopped
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • Blend to mix well.

High Fiber Caramel Apple Herbalife Shake demonstration video:

Reference sources for this article:

National Academy of Medicine (USA)

British Nutrition Foundation

Cancer Council Australia

Susan Bowerman,
M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.O.W.M., F.A.N.D.
Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training
Herbalife Nutrition

 

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