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Fiber

By

Adrienne Youdim

, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Last full review/revision Dec 2021| Content last modified Dec 2021
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Some foods contain fiber, which is a tough complex carbohydrate. Fiber may be

  • Partly soluble: It dissolves in water, and the body may be able to digest some of it.

  • Insoluble: It does not dissolve in water, and the body cannot digest it.

Fiber in the diet helps mainly by adding bulk to the contents of the intestines. This helps make stool easier to pass and minimizes constipation Constipation in Adults Constipation is difficult or infrequent bowel movements, hard stool, or a feeling that the rectum is not totally empty after a bowel movement (incomplete evacuation). (See also Constipation... read more . Fiber also may provide satiety (the feeling of fullness and relief of hunger). However, eating too much insoluble fiber can make you feel bloated and also interfere with absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Authorities generally recommend that about 30 grams of fiber be consumed daily. In the United States, the average amount of fiber consumed daily is about 12 grams because people tend to eat products made with highly refined wheat flour and do not eat many fruits and vegetables. An average serving of fruit, a vegetable, or cereal contains 2 to 4 grams of fiber. Meat and dairy foods do not contain fiber.

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