Does a high fiber diet make you healthier? Most experts recommend consuming no more than 35 g of fiber per day to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort. Now, a study indicates that many people can consume a high fiber diet without experiencing this side effect.
The study included data from 1,267 women (average age 54) who participated in a 12-month trial that evaluated the effect of diet on breast cancer recurrence. Participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention group that was encouraged to eat at least 30 g of fiber daily or a control group that was instructed to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day but received no specific counseling on fiber intake.
Twenty-eight percent of people in the intervention group consumed more than 35 g of fiber daily, as did 8% of those in the control group. After one year, women who consumed 35 g or more of fiber each day, regardless of which group they were in, experienced no more bloating, diarrhea, and upset stomach than the women who ate less fiber. The women who ate 35 g of fiber or more also reported 60% less constipation and 30% less heartburn.
“It is feasible and perhaps beneficial for at least a sizable proportion of healthy women 18 to 70 years of age to consume higher levels of fiber intake than currently recommended,” the authors conclude.
Article written by: Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Volume 102, page 549, April 2002