Almost everyone can agree that it is essential to include fiber in your diet. Almost everyone can also agree that too much of a good thing is actually not as it seems. Having anything in excess is by definition a risky thing to do, and including too much fiber in your diet is essentially no different. Overall, fiber is good for you, but there are a couple of things to watch out for.
What Is a High Fiber Diet?
A high fiber diet is fairly self-explanatory. Since fiber is known to be beneficial, a high fiber diet is trying to eat as much of it as you can through the foods you consume. Fiber in this context refers to dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods and comes in two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble is useful in aiding defection, as it absorbs water and adds volume to stools. Soluble fiber reacts chemically by fermentation with bacteria in the colon to produce helpful compounds, which are healthy and beneficial.
When all is said and done, there isn’t much to dislike about a high fiber diet. If you are consuming too much fiber, your body will alert you by becoming dehydrated, constipated, and having slugging bowels to name a few. The following 3 symptoms of a diet too high in fiber go into more detail.
Insoluble fiber goes through the digestive system absorbing water along the way. That’s how it adds bulk to stools. But, a possible direct unwanted side effect of helping pass stools through your system is to take too much water out of it. Without adequate intake of water, you can easily experience dehydration on a high fiber diet. The easy remedy is to try to drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of water when you choose to keep fiber intake high.
This one is almost counter intuitive, but it is an example of too much of a good thing. It possible to consume so much fiber that your stool bulks up too much. In that scenario, you might even have trouble expelling stool from your system. That’s when you may have a case of constipation. Try reducing your fiber intake and consuming more fluids.
3. Reduced Vitamin Absorption
This one is somewhat controversial, but at the very least a bit suspect. With too much fiber in your diet, the food you ingest may end up going through your system too fast to allow for adequate vitamin and mineral absorption. There’s not much you can do about this except to maybe try to separate the high fiber intake from food high in calcium, zinc and iron, or take a vitamin supplement. There’s also the obvious solution: avoid excessive fiber intake.
Overall, a high fiber diet is highly recommended as long as you don’t overdue it. For best results, be sure to drink an adequate amount of fluid to complement a diet high in fiber. If you notice symptoms are not going away, please consult with your physician to avoid further complications.