How Much Fiber Decreases Diverticulosis Risk?

Last Editorial Review: 4/17/2002

The average western diet contains only about half the amount of fiber needed to reduce pressure build up in the colon, which is required to avoid diverticulosis. Studies show that in areas where diverticulosis rarely occurs, the fiber intake is close to 45 gm/day; the average western diet contains only about 20-25 gm.

It takes 15-20 gm of fiber in order to have a significant impact on colonic pressures; this is not necessarily an easy task-below are statistics from a medical text showing how much you need to eat to achieve the 15-20 grams of fiber needed.

There are many ways to add the needed fiber to the diet; ideally this should be done slowly and progressively. For example, you would need to take in; 131/2 oz of Wholemeal Bread, or 221/2 oz of Carrots, or 26 oz of Cabbage, or 49 oz of Apples, or the following cereals- 41/2 oz of Bran Chex or 9 oz of Total cereal in order to double stool weight (equal to 20 gm of fiber). You can accomplish the same thing by ingesting 11/2 oz of Unprocessed Bran. In addition, 2 tsp of Psyllium provides 6-7gm of fiber-and this often produces less gas and bloating.

High Fiber diets are not necessarily for everyone-but as a rule we should take in as much as our body can tolerate. Side effects can be gas, bloating, cramps & diarrhea. Other benefits from eating our veggies may be a reduction in the risk of Colon Cancer and lower cholesterol levels. Ask your doctor what you should be doing nutrition wise, and if necessary consult a certified nutritionist who can work with your physician.

For more about nutrition, please visit our Nutrition Center.

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