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You Asked: Fiber Per Meal — Is There a Limit?

A while back, I did a post about the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber and received this great question:

Is there a recommended amount that you shouldn't go over in one meal? Like I know the body can only absorb so much calcium at one time, I wonder if it's that way for fiber. I know it's always better to spread things out, but I was just wondering if there was an actual number that I shouldn't be going over in case my body doesn't process it all. Thanks.

When it comes to fiber, you should focus on getting 25 to 30 grams a day. Fiber helps keep you regular, lowers cholesterol, can help prevent both breast and ovarian cancer, and also may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. So is it bad to eat all 30 grams in one meal? To find out

Nutritionally speaking, there's nothing bad about getting all your fiber in one meal, it's just that it's difficult to do. (Most people can't fit in 30 grams of fiber in their entire day, let alone in one sitting.) If you sat down for breakfast and ate a cup of a high fiber cereal such as Kashi Go Lean (10 grams of fiber), 1/2 cup of raspberries (5 grams of fiber), 1 banana (3 grams of fiber), and 1/2 cup of walnuts (2 grams of fiber) on top, that would still only be 20 grams of fiber. Many people find that if they eat this much fiber all at once, especially if their bodies aren't used to it, they'll feel bloated, gassy, and may have diarrhea.

To prevent tummy troubles, instead of trying to eat all your fiber at once, focus on eating a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and nuts throughout your day. Naturally, these all are great sources of fiber too, so if you stick to healthy foods like these at every meal, you'll be able to get your fill of daily fiber.

Fit's Tips: If you're trying to get 30 grams of fiber a day, and your body isn't used to it, gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet over a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change, which will prevent gas and other belly problems. Be sure to drink enough water too, because it'll help the fiber do its job. Without enough water, you'll end up constipated.


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