Side Effects of Too Much Fiber in Diet

When we read any article about constipation, but common advice given is taking lot of fibers.  The most propagated theory is fibers help in causing bulk in the intestines and also absorb water which helps in removing stool from bowels and hence it is good for constipation. There are two type of dietary fibers – Water soluble  and water insoluble.  Water soluble fibers absorb water and create the bulk where as water insoluble fibers provide the roughage.

Although it is a fact that fibers are useful in constipation relief but when we read so many people recommending fiber in the food it is easy to be carried away and start taking fibers in our diet both in natural form and in form of laxatives.  However there can be harmful effects of too much fiber in diet about which we should be careful.  Taking too much fiber and too frequently can lead to many health problems and illness.  Here are some of the harmful effects of taking fibers.

  1. Fibers as such do not have any nutritional value and if you replace your main food with too much fiber you can be deprived of essential nutrients and vitamins.  This can cause vitamin and mineral deficiency in your body.  Many time fibers do not allow body to absorb the nutrients properly which can aggravate the problem.
  2. Fibers do not get digested and they can cause gas in the intestine and the stomach.  This can cause stomach pain and cramps.
  3. Sometimes the roughage caused by the insoluble fiber can become too heavy and cause blockage in the intestine which can cause further constipation and sometimes hernia.
  4. Too much of soluble fibers can cause diarrhea and loose motions.
  5. Insoluble fibers can make the stool hard and can cause irritation and sometimes injury to the intestines and the rectum.  If you are suffering from ulcers of the stomach and intestines then fibers can cause more damage.
  6. Although there can be various reasons for constipation in toddlers, one of the possible reasons is when they are given too much of roughage in form of fiber it hardens and causes pain in the stomach and rectum.  Often toddlers are unable to verbally tell about their pain but it make them reluctant to go to the toilet.
  7. For elderly people if they take too much of dietary fiber, it can increase the weigh of the stool too much which can cause too much pressure on the rectum and colon muscles.

So the question is should we take fibers or not.  The fact is we do need fibers in our diet, though too much of fibers is not good.  Another point we would like to mention is take fiber in natural form and you can escape the side effects to large extent.  for example, start eating more fruits since they contain fibers in natural form.

Here are some more tips.

  1. Eating more number of fruits will ensure that you get the right balance of nutrition and required quantity of fiber.
  2. Apart from taking more fruits reduce quantity of red meat as it has protein which is harder to digest.
  3. Take natural oils like olive oil for constipation relief.  Oils like olive oil will not only help in constipation relief but they also help in meeting body’s requirements of essential fat.
  4. Take more water.  If you can take around 1 to 1.5 liters of warm water in the morning before having anything else, most of your constipation problem will be solved.

Usually 20 to 30 grams of fiber in food is good and it is recommended and most of this requirement can be easily fulfilled naturally if you take sufficient quantities of fruits everyday.  So next time you go to the store fill you basket with more fruits and observe the difference it makes to your health.

Back to Top