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What is Fiber? | Dietary Fiber & Why You Should Eat It

It’s well-known that most Americans are fiber-deprived. Many people in the United States can benefit from adding fiber to their diets. But what is fiber, exactly? And what foods should you eat to add more fiber to your day?

Fiber, sometimes referred to as roughage, is a complex carbohydrate found in plants. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains. There is no dietary fiber found naturally in meat or dairy products.

Unlike other kinds of carbohydrates, fiber is not digestible and does not have any caloric impact. It moves through the digestive system without being absorbed. In doing so, fiber helps to move food through the body, improving digestion and promoting natural regularity and intestinal health.

Fiber has many other health benefits, like reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and diverticular disease. Additionally, fiber is a proven tool in preventing weight gain. According to the FDA’s newly revised dietary guidelines, adults should be getting a minimum of 25-30 grams of dietary fiber a day.

To get the most out of a high fiber diet, get your fiber from a mix of whole food sources. A breakfast of oatmeal with fresh fruit can help to start your day out on a filling, high fiber note. Snacks like baby carrots, nuts, and popcorn can provide fiber when you need a mid-day boost. Beans and leafy greens make great additions to a dinner.

To see how much fiber is in some of your favorite foods, check out our blog post: What does 25 grams of fiber look like?