Fiber

  • Author:
    Betty Kovacs, MS, RD

    Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.

  • Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

High-Fiber Foods Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideHigh-Fiber Foods: Benefits For Your Heart, Weight, and Energy

High-Fiber Foods: Benefits For Your Heart, Weight, and Energy

Fiber for preventing or treating constipation

Fiber may just be the way to go when constipation is the problem. Although what constitutes constipation is not well established, diets that increase the number of bowel movements per day, improve the ease with which a stool is passed, or increase stool bulk are considered beneficial. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are necessary for regular bowel movements. Oftentimes, people use over-the-counter supplements to assist with regularity. Unfortunately, these supplements only provide soluble fiber. Studies support the benefits of the combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in alleviating constipation, but only with the consumption of an adequate fluid intake. High amounts of fiber, without fluids, can aggravate, rather then alleviate constipation. The way to go is to eat foods high in both soluble and insoluble fibers and drink lots of water to flush it down.

Fiber chart: Recommendations for fiber intake

The average American's daily intake of fiber is about 5 to 14 grams per day. The current recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine are to achieve an adequate intake (AI) of fiber based on your gender and age. The AI is expected to meet or exceed the average amount needed to maintain a defined nutritional state or criterion of adequacy in essentially all members of a specific healthy population.

AI Fiber Intake Chart for Men
Age Fiber grams/day
19 to 30 years 38 g/d
31 to 50 38 g/d
51 to 70 30 g/d
70+ 30 g/d
AI Fiber Intake Chart for Women
Age Fiber grams/day
19 to 30 years 25 g/d
31 to 50 25 g/d
51 to 70 21 g/d
70+ 21 g/d
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2015

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