Can You Overdose on Fiber?

Fiber is supposed to be good for the human body. It makes individuals feel satisfied longer, regulates the digestive system, keeps cholesterol levels in the healthy zone and helps lose weight. However, it seems that it is actually possible to consume too much fiber, which obviously has adverse effects.

Nowadays, due to the health-conscious societies that prevail in the West, synthetic kinds of fiber are being added to just about every food available on the market, from yogurt to beverages. This makes it difficult to actually track any individual’s real daily fiber intake.

The scary part is that too much fiber can actually cause harm to the body. This is because too much fiber, which essentially consists of indigestible parts, will clear the body of any food previously ingested before the body has time to extract nutrients from that food, which will ultimately cause the organism to be deprived of nutrients.

More than that, fiber – which usually keeps the digestive system in good shape – when in excessive amounts, can actually drain the body of fluids and cause constipation. This happens because too much fiber actually slows down digestion, instead of keeping it regulated. Having too much fiber in the system can also predictably cause bloating and, ironically, the direct opposite of constipation in some individuals — diarrhea.

The way to avoid such uncomfortable situations is tracking your fiber intake, keeping it in a range between 21 and 25 grams per day. This can also be done through the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods.

It is also important to note that there are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble – and they both serve different yet necessary purposes. While soluble fiber is responsible for slowing down digestion, soaking up water and keeping blood sugar at healthy levels, the insoluble kind is the one that cleans up the digestive system. To get both types of fiber, your diet should include beans, oatmeal, whole bread and vegetables.

As for the synthetic fiber being added to seemingly every edible product nowadays, opinions are still largely mixed. It is true that synthetic fiber acts like real one, but it totally lacks any nutrients. When all aspects are taken into account, the truth is synthetic fiber is usually added to foods that aren’t very healthy themselves, and the addition alone can hardly make them any healthier.

In reality, it isn’t true fiber that turns against the body – one would have to consume huge amounts of any whole foods to actually overdose on it – but rather the synthetic kind added to foods which are normally not consumed in small portions.