You may have heard that eating enough fiber can help you lose weight, thanks to its ability to help you feel full and regulate blood sugar. But is it possible to eat too much of this important nutrient? In short, yes — and it can lead to some unpleasant side effects.
The daily recommendations for fiber is is 28 grams a day for women under age 50 and 21 grams for women over 50, said Autumn Ehsaei, MS, RDN, LDN. But even if you're loading up on high-fiber foods, such as leafy greens, fruit, and whole grains, it's pretty hard to go over the recommendations.
"It is possible to eat too much fiber, although probably unlikely that a general healthy person eating a standard American diet would reach that high threshold," Autumn told POPSUGAR. She added that she rarely encounters patients who eat too much fiber; more often than not, she finds that people don't get nearly enough fiber.
But if you do eat too much fiber, complications include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, dehydration, and stomach cramps. "Constipation tends to occur from too much soluble fiber: oats, peas, beans, apples," Emily Holdorf, MS, RD, Founder and Consulting Dietitian at EmPowered Nutrition, told POPSUGAR. "Diarrhea can occur due to too much insoluble fiber: whole wheat flour, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes."
Autumn said she finds a lot of these unpleasant side effects also happen when people increase how much fiber they eat too quickly. If you currently don't eat enough fiber, it's best to slowly increase your daily intake until you reach the recommended amount and stay hydrated to avoid digestive and gastrointestinal issues, Emily added.
"Fiber is essential for a healthy microbiome, energy and blood sugar regulation, disease prevention, and satiety, so I always encourage people to focus on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains," Autumn told POPSUGAR. "If they are eating an appropriate amount for their bodies, they probably won't have any issues."