How Much Fiber Do You Need?

The generally recommended fiber intake for adults is 25 to 40 grams per day, depending on caloric intake (12.5 grams per 1,000 calories consumed), but Joslin’s new nutritional guidelines recommend eating at least 50 grams of fiber a day, which is extremely optimistic given that most people don’t even meet the currently recommended levels.

Instead of getting caught up in trying to eat a certain amount of fiber daily, make it easier on yourself by simply making a steadfast commitment to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes; your fiber intake will greatly increase (maybe even up to 50 grams a day). To find out the fiber content of any food, either read its nutrition label (if it comes in a box or package), or, for produce or natural foods, look up fiber information on a variety of nutrition-related Web sites via the Tufts Nutrition Navigator (http://navigator.tufts.edu).

Although the low-carb craze has resulted in many new products with added fiber (such as pasta and tortilla shells), remember that in general, the more refined a product is, the less fiber it is likely to contain. Try to eat foods that are the least altered from their natural state.

Next week, I’ll talk more about natural foods.

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