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Fiber: Its Importance In Your Diet

Fiber: Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 14:43

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are some frequently asked questions related to Fiber: Its Importance In Your Diet.

Q: Exactly how much fiber should I get in my diet?

A: The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Your doctor may also recommend drinking a fiber product such as Citrucel or Metamucil once a day. These products are mixed with water, and each 8-ounce glass provides about 4 to 6 grams of fiber.

Q: Can fiber really help me lose weight?

A: In a nutshell, fiber slows things down at the upper end and speeds them up at the lower end (in other words, "slow in, fast out"). It makes the entrance of food more difficult (by demanding that food be chewed), and it makes it easier to pass stools. In between, it makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay longer. These actions can help you limit calories.

Q: Recently, when I tried eating more fiber, I had cramps and a bloated feeling. Is this normal?

A: Many people notice bloating, cramping, or gas when they begin to add more fiber to their diet. Adding fiber gradually to your diet over a period of time can help prevent this. It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fiber you eat. The recommended amount of water is eight glasses a day.

Q: I drink lots of fruit juices. Does this count as extra fiber in my diet?

A: Fruit and vegetable juices usually contain practically no fiber, because the juice has been squeezed out of the plant material and the fiber is left behind. But freezing, drying, and normal cooking do not significantly change the fiber content of most foods. Fresh or cooked vegetables, as well as dried or canned fruit, all add fiber.

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