The Fiber Gap: A Big Problem
Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system, but most Americans fall short of the daily recommended fiber intake. This lack of fiber can lead to digestive issues and other health problems.
The suggested daily fiber intake is 28 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet, but research shows that only about 10% of adult women and 3% of men in the U.S. reach this goal.
While you can take fiber supplements, they often come with unpleasant side effects like bloating and gas.
New Research: How Much Fiber Can You Tolerate?
Two new studies from the University of Illinois aim to make it easier for food companies to add more fiber to their products without causing digestive problems.
In the first study, researchers looked at more than 100 clinical trials to see how different types of fiber affect people.
They found that the amount of fiber people can tolerate varies a lot depending on the kind of fiber and individual differences.
For example, some fibers like alginate, which comes from brown algae, can only be tolerated in amounts as low as 4 grams per day. On the other hand, up to 25 grams of soy fiber per day seemed fine for most people.
The study also found that how well you tolerate fiber may depend on the types of microorganisms you have in your gut.
Future Studies: Making Fiber More Digestible
The second study gives guidelines for future research on how to measure how much fiber people can comfortably eat.
It provides a complete toolkit for planning new studies that look into human tolerance for different kinds of fiber. The hope is that these guidelines will help create new fiber-rich foods that people can eat without discomfort.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you find it hard to get enough fiber in your diet or have struggled with the side effects of fiber supplements, these studies offer some hope.
Food companies might soon be able to make products with more digestible forms of fiber, making it easier for everyone to get the fiber they need for good health.
And since every person’s gut is different, the research also suggests that finding the right amount and type of fiber for you could be key to avoiding digestive problems.
For more on nutrition, you might want to look into how whole grain foods could help you live longer, or how vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of cancer.
Overall, it’s clear that a fiber-rich diet is beneficial, and these new studies are helping make that easier to achieve.
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