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Dietary Fiber - Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - How Much Fiber to Eat - Soluble/Insoluble, Pectin, Cellulose

Information About Dietary Fiber RDA

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Advice About RDA and Types of Dietary Fiber

What is Dietary Fiber?

Sometimes called non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), fiber is the most complex type of carbohydrate. It cannot be digested by humans, so it passes largely unassimilated through the digestive system into the bowel. Dietary fiber comes mainly from plant cell walls. See Health Benefits and Sources

Two Types of Fiber

There are 2 types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble. Many plant foods contain both types, although in varying proportions. Insoluble fiber is mainly cellulose and is found in all plants. Good sources include: grains (wheat, corn, rice), vegetables and beans. Soluble fiber includes pectin (from apples and citrus fruits), beta-glucans (from oats, barley and rye) and arabinose (from beans).

Functions of Dietary Fiber in Diet

Previously, nutritionists and diet experts thought that fiber's main role was to speed up the passage of food to prevent constipation. We now know that some forms of fiber also slow down the absorption of sugars, thus helping to regulate blood-glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. In addition, fiber in our diet helps to speed up and eliminate more food residues whose calories might otherwise be absorbed and possibly stored as body fat.

Dietary Fiber: Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

According to the current US Dietary Guidelines, issued by the US government, fiber intake is age-related.

For Adults Under the Age of 50
The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

For Adults Over the Age of 50
The recommended daily fiber intake is 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.

For Optimum Health, Eat High-Fiber Foods Not Supplements

It is best to get your dietary fiber naturally from high-fiber foods rather than solely from bran or from fiber supplements. Some fiber supplements have caused severe gastrointestinal discomfort, including bloating, diarrhoea or even blockage.

Dietary Fiber - Net Carbs - Low Carb Diets

Because fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate, it is not usually included in the 'net carb' content of foods.

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