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If you’re one of the majority of Americans not getting enough fiber, there are easy ways to fix that.

Fiber, a type of carbohydrate that passes through our bodies without being digested, is essential to an overall healthy lifestyle. Yet most Americans have insufficient fiber in their diets.

“People cite many reasons,” says Krys Araujo Torres, M.D., MSPP, head of medical affairs for Nestlé Health Science U.S. “Consumers might erroneously believe they get enough within their diet or have confusion about the fiber content of foods. Many consumers eat diets that are rich in fast-foods, or highly processed foods, which do not contain enough dietary fiber. And wheat-free or grain-free diets limit the intake of fiber-rich grains.”

Benefits of fiber

What’s not a mystery is how much fiber we need. “For the general adult population, a fiber intake of 14 grams for every 1,000 calories you consume,” explains Torres. “This means a minimum of 28 grams a day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.  Individual needs of fiber may be higher or lower depending on the caloric needs. 

Dietary fiber plays an important role in overall health. It supports regular bowel function and helps to feel fuller. Adequate fiber intake as part of the diet also supports heart health and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  

Getting enough fiber

It’s important to know that there are two varieties of fiber: soluble and insoluble, which provide different benefits. “Soluble fibers dissolve in water, forming a gel that contributes a feeling of fullness,” explains Torres. “Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and move through the digestive system, reducing the risk of constipation.”  Since different foods offer different amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, a varied diet is essential.

“The best sources of dietary fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts,” notes Torres. “The amount and composition of fibers varies from food to food — it can be hard to estimate the fiber content of an adult’s diet in any given day.”

That difficulty has inspired some technological resources. “If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough daily fiber,” says Beth Lalak, senior manager of brand marketing at Nestlé Health Science, “Fiber Choice® provides a convenient fiber calculator to help determine an individual’s fiber needs.’’

Best practices include choosing high-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables and reviewing the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods to determine how much fiber it offers (choose options that contain three or more grams of fiber per serving). “You can also make some easy choices in your diet to specifically increase the fiber content,” Torres suggests. “A bowl of high-fiber cereal and fruit for breakfast, lentils, salad, or soup for lunch, and steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or eggplant in your dinner.”

Supplemental fiber

If your normal diet isn’t giving you enough fiber, Torres suggests adding a fiber supplement. “The plant-based prebiotic fiber in Fiber Choice® supplements supports the growth and activity of the beneficial bacteria in the gut which in turn, helps supports the immune system,”†† notes Lalak.

With a variety of available formats, individuals can choose their preference. Many supplements come as powders, while others, like Fiber Choice®, are available as chewable tablets and gummies. Lalak points out that supplements like these can help achieve dietary fiber targets. Two of the sugar-free Fiber Choice® chewable tablets provide four grams of fiber, while two sugar-free gummies (now available on Amazon), which contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners, provide three grams of fiber. 

To learn more about fiber supplements as well as Nestlé Health Science’s digestive health solutions, visit nestlehealthscience.com, or speak with your healthcare provider about your individual fiber needs.

The fiber calculator is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.

†† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

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