Fiber is one of the most important pillars of a healthy, balanced diet, especially when it comes to your gut health. This is true no matter what your health goals are, but it can be particularly vital if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent unwanted weight gain. But how much, exactly, should you eat every day to shed those pounds, and what are the best types of fiber to aid weight loss?
To answer these questions, we spoke to Certified Nutrition Specialist Megan Barnett, MS, CNS and Personal Trainer Thomas Dean. They not only broke down the importance of ample fiber intake, but also shared the crucial difference between two types of fiber—as it turns out, you should prioritize soluble fiber over insoluble for weight loss. Read on to learn more!
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Why Is Fiber Important For Your Health?
Dean and Barnett both stress that fiber is an important part of any balanced diet. The benefits of this nutrient are numerous; Dean notes that it offers “improved digestion and reduced risk for certain diseases like diabetes.” Additionally, eating an ample amount of fiber is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, Barnett points out that the average American only eats about half as much fiber as the recommended daily intake. “This contributes to the chronic and pervasive prevalence of constipation and diarrhea treated daily in the U.S,” she notes. These problems, along with other gut-related issues, may hold you back from your weight loss goals. Improving your digestion is one major key to promoting healthy weight loss because it allows your body to make better use of all those nutrients you consume.
Overall, Barnett says eating enough fiber is a vital component of your overall health—and you may not be getting enough of it. “Whether through fresh whole foods or a dietary supplement, fiber should become a prioritized part of your daily diet. Most people are likely not getting enough fiber to optimize their health even with a focused nutritional approach,” she says.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat Every Day?
So, how much fiber is enough? Barnett says that your sweet spot is probably around a minimum of *25-35 grams* of dietary fiber every day. But here’s the catch: around half of that should be coming specifically from *soluble fiber.* This type of fiber, which is found in foods like oats, peas, and legumes, dissolves in water and can help lower your blood sugar and cholesterol. “Without a particular focus on soluble fiber, it’s unlikely that you’re reaching your full potential,” Barnett explains. “Veggies and fruits alone won’t do the trick, though they are loaded with insoluble fiber.”
That means that, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, the type of fiber you eat is just as important as the amount you’re eating. If you want to shed pounds at a steady rate, Barnett offers some advice. “Research shows that an increase of 14 grams per say of soluble fiber from diet or supplementation is associated with a 10% decrease in daily caloric consumption as well as weight loss,” she says. Time to start upping your oatmeal intake, then!
Of course, while anywhere from 25-25 grams is a good rule of thumb, the exact amount of fiber you should eat every day depends on your personal needs and your body. “To determine how much fiber someone should be eating each day, they should look at their age, gender, and the amount of weight they need to lose,” Dean says. “At the end of the day, it is up to you to find out what your daily recommended fiber intake should be,” he concludes.