When and How to Use Fiber Supplements
Fiber doesn’t have to be an arduous addition to your to-do list.
A fiber-rich diet—including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains—can offer a range of health benefits.1 But despite these valuable benefits, many people aren’t getting the fiber they need in their daily diets: According to one study, 90% of the US population does not consume the level of dietary fiber necessary to have a beneficial effect.1
But “add fiber” doesn’t have to be an inconvenient addition to your to-do list. Studies have found that supplements can make it easy to support your daily fiber intake in a way similar to the fiber you get from food, especially when added to a balanced diet.2, 3
“I often recommend fiber supplements to patients who may not be getting a sufficient amount in their daily diet,” says Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician who specializes in functional, holistic health, and integrative medicine. Fiber supplements, like Benefiber, are commonly available at your local drug store, and are available in both powder and tablet form.
While Chin explains that nutrient-dense foods like nuts and vegetables are ideal sources of fiber, a modern-day diet may not provide the 21 to 38 grams of fiber recommended by experts.3* That’s where a supplement can be helpful.
Another benefit of fiber? It can help support your weight management goals. “Fiber can increase the feeling of fullness, helping you feel fuller longer,” says Chin.
And while fiber supplements have been shown in studies to help aid weight management, they offer a range of other benefits.4 Not only does regular fiber intake benefit a number of systems in the body, but some fiber supplements have prebiotic effects.5 Prebiotics help feed and nourish naturally occurring microorganisms (aka “good bacteria”) in the gut, which can help optimize the environment for digestive health.
If you’re looking to add fiber to your diet, start slowly with an additional serving or two a day—a supplement contains around 3 grams of fiber per serving—to avoid side effects like bloating and gas, and increase fluid intake to avoid constipation, suggests Chin.
For convenience, you can add some fiber supplements into your morning glass of water, orange juice, or yogurt. Baking muffins ? Mix it in as well! Just be sure to use fiber supplements as directed on the label.
Show ReferencesHide References
- McRorie, Jr., Johnson W. "Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 1." Nutrition Today. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Mar. 2015. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415962/.
- Katz, David L. "Fiber Supplement Safety." Oprah.com. Harpo, Inc., June 2009. Web. http://www.oprah.com/health/Fiber-Supplement-Safety.
- "Fiber: Daily Recommendations for Adults." Mayo Clinic. N.p., 22 Sept. 2015. Web. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983?pg=2.
- Lyon, Michael R., and Veronica Kacinik. "Is There a Place for Dietary Fiber Supplements in Weight Management?" Current Obesity Reports. Current Science Inc., June 2012. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342503/.
- "Slideshow: High-Fiber Super Foods." WebMD. Ed. Laura J. Martin. N.p., 14 May 2014. Web. http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-health-benefits-15/slideshow-high-fiber-foods.