If you’re not used to eating the daily recommended value of fiber, suddenly and drastically increasing your fiber intake may not be the best plan. When fiber intake is increased too quickly, side effects of a high fiber diet may include minor bloating and abdominal cramps. If proper hydration is not added along with the added fiber, constipation may also occur.
But fear not! The negative side effects of a high fiber diet can be usually be easily avoided by following some simple steps. This way, you can enjoy the health benefits of fiber to their fullest extent!
How? Take it slow. Increase your daily fiber intake gradually, rather than all at once. Most Americans eat about 15 grams of fiber per day, while the recommended amount is generally 25-38 grams per day. Jumping from 15 grams to 25 grams can be an adjustment for your body. Your intestines will be more comfortable if you increase the amount of fiber in your diet by 5 grams per day for adults and 1 to 2 grams per day for children.
You should also make sure to drink plenty of water. Soluble fiber absorbs water as it travels through the body, so to stay hydrated and regular, you may need to increase your water intake as you increase your fiber intake. Without proper hydration, you may experience constipation or other gastrointestinal discomfort.
Importantly, listen to your body and pay attention to how you’re feeling. And if you suspect that any symptoms you’re feeling may be signs of a more serious condition, be sure to talk to a doctor.