How Much Fiber Should We Eat to Stay Healthy?

by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD on Jun 19, 2019

Food for Thought

Most people aren’t getting nearly enough.

The fact that fiber is good for us isn’t breaking news. But now we have a better idea of just how much we should be eating to add years to our lives. A study commissioned by several health and educational entities, including the World Health Organization, and published in The Lancet analyzed 40 years’ worth of data from 243 previous observational studies and randomized controlled trials. The evidence showed that consuming 25–29 grams of fiber each day can help protect against a slew of killers, including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Pushing fiber intake above the 30 g mark may provide even greater armament against these chronic diseases: People eating the most fiber were found to be 15%–30% less likely to die prematurely from any cause as compared with those eating less fiber.

Americans consume, on average, a meager 16 g of fiber each day, not nearly the amount needed to guard against disease. And this important ingredient is increasingly missing as popular diets tell people to fill their plates with fiber-light steak and cheese. It’s safe to say that most people could benefit from eating more fiber-packed meals and snacks.

Fiber-Rich Menu

Total for the day = 45 grams of fiber.

Breakfast

Oatmeal and Fruit for Fiber

¼ cup steel-cut oatmeal (5 g)

¾ cup raspberries (6 g)

1 T chia seeds (5 g)


Lunch

Spinach Fiber

salad with 2 cups spinach (2 g)

1 cup cherry tomatoes (2 g)

½ cup lentils (8 g)

2 T sunflower seeds (2 g)


Carrots and Hummus for Fiber

Snack

1 cup baby carrots (3 g)

¼ cup hummus (3 g)


Dinner

Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet Potato for Fiber

salmon

baked medium sweet potato with skin (4 g)

2 cups steamed broccoli (5 g)

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About the Author

Matthew Kadey,  MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award-winning journalist, Canada-based dietitian, freelance nutrition writer and recipe developer. He has written for dozens of magazines including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Vegetarian Times and Fitness.