Can you get fiber naturally from foods?
Most people in the U.S. take in much less fiber than they should. The best way to get it is from food, like a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some good sources of soluble fiber include:
- Oatmeal and oat bran
- Apples, citrus fruits, and strawberries
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Rice bran
And some sources of insoluble fiber are:
- Cereal brans
- Whole grains, like barley
- Whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, and wheat bran
- Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, beets, and cauliflower
Some foods, like nuts, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
What are the risks of taking fiber?
Side effects. Fiber does not have serious side effects. At high levels, it can cause bloating, cramping, gas, and perhaps worsening constipation. Drinking more water -- 2 liters a day -- may help.
Interactions. If you take any regular medications, talk to a doctor before you start using a fiber supplement. It may block the absorption of some drugs.
Risks. Rarely, fiber supplements have caused intestinal blockages. If you have any chronic disease, talk to a doctor before you start using a fiber supplement. The sugar and salt in some supplements, particularly powders, might be risky for people with diabetes or high blood pressure. People with diabetes may want to choose a sugar-free powder or another form of fiber. Blond psyllium is the most common type of fiber supplement on the market.