Why is fiber important? How much do I need daily? What is the minimum amount I should consume? These are some common questions I receive from clients as fiber is often overlooked in most cases as most people primarily focus solely on their calories, protein, fats, and carbohydrate targets and goals.
Fibers main role is in digestive health but can also play a role in preventing cases such as heart disease as well as diabetes. Traditional nutrition teaches that fiber cannot be digested by humans, but in fact while not digestible in the small intestine, some fiber is fermented in the colon and that by product can actually provide some energy.
The two types of fiber that the body needs to aid in digestion are soluble and insoluble fibers. These can be found in most complex carbohydrate such as oats and any whole wheat product. The greatest benefit of fiber for weight loss clients is that it may increase satiety and feeling of being full. This can help anybody looking to lose weight effectively space out their meals and hit a lower calorie target consistently.
(Fiber is found in many different complex carbohydrates such as oats, whole wheat breads, pasta, and beans)
As for healthy minimums, I would say this would be about 20 grams for females and 25 grams for males. Another much easier way to determine how much fiber you should consume is to incorporate a simple rule that for every 1000 calories you consume in your diet you should have a minimum of 10 grams of fiber. This is what I was taught and was much more practical to incorporate into my diet & lifestyle.
Example: Somebody on a 2200 calorie diet would strive to consume at least 22 grams of fiber each day.
For anybody that actively tracks their macros, this is the simplest and easiest way to consistently know how much fiber you need daily.
(Many IIFYM’ers neglect fiber and fill in their targets with simple sugars, this is not an optimal nor recommended approach)