How Much Fiber Do You Need a Day, Types of Fiber, Best Sources

Recent surveys have shown that most people are not getting enough fiber in their diets. Worse still, most people are ignorant of how much fiber they need, and which foods to eat to get enough fiber.

In the UK and US adults only consume an average of 16 grams of dietary fiber per day, well short of the minimum recommended amount of 26 grams per day for women and 39 grams per day for women.

Generally the food you eat should contain 14 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories because of the way fiber helps you digest the food.

This article is designed to close the fiber gap by defining daily minimum fiber intakes for people based on age and sex. There is also information on the types of fiber and their benefits. Charts are provided for the foods of various types with the highest natural fiber contents.

Many fresh foods have good levels of natural dietary fiber. Learn how much you need and what foods to eat to get adequate fiber in your diet
Many fresh foods have good levels of natural dietary fiber. Learn how much you need and what foods to eat to get adequate fiber in your diet | Source
Beans are rich in natural fiber
Beans are rich in natural fiber | Source
Green vegetables are rich natural dietary fiber
Green vegetables are rich natural dietary fiber | Source

How Much Fiber Do Your Need

The U.S. government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines provided the minimum amounts shown in the table below.

Many other governments throughout the world have much higher recommendations.

There is evidence that eating excessive fiber can be harmful, but eating a little more than the recommendations is a good idea.

Recommended Daily Fiber Intake by Age and Sex (USFDA)

Fiber Recommendations by Age and Sex
Daily Fiber Recommendation
Children ages 1-3 years old
19 grams
Children ages 4-8 years old
25 grams
Young boys ages 9-13 years old
31 grams
Young girls ages 9-13 years old
26 grams
Teenage boys ages 14-18 years old
38 grams
Teenage girls ages 14-18 years old
26 grams
Young and adult men ages 14-50 years old
38 grams
Young and adult women ages 14-50 years old
25 grams
Men ages 50 years and older
30 grams
Women ages 50 years and older
21 grams

Types of Fiber - Soluble, Insoluble and Other Types

Broadly speaking, there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. You need both as each type has a different role.

The types of fiber and their general benefits is shown in the table below.

Types of Fiber, Solubility, Foods and Health Benefits

Types of Fiber
Solubility
Sources
Health Benefits
Cellulose (hemicellulose)
Insoluble
Naturally found in skins of many foods, edible brown rice, seeds, bran, whole grains, whole wheat and nuts
Natural laxative the avoids constipation, lowers risk of diverticulitis, weight loss benefits by speeding passage pf food through the gut.
Inulin oligofructose
Soluble
Onions, beets and chicory root extracts. Added to many processed foods to increase fiber contents.
May promote and sustain beneficial bacteria in the gut and may enhance immunity processes
Lignin
Insoluble
Found naturally in rye, flax, and some vegetables.
Benefits for cardiovascular health and immunity processes.
Mucilage, beta-glucans
Soluble
Naturally found in carrots, apples, oranges, bananas, soybeans, berries, flaxseed, barley, peas, beans, oat bran and oats
Helps lower, so-called bad LDL cholesterol and lowers risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Pectin and gums
Soluble (some pectins can be insoluble)
Naturally found in berries, fruits and seeds, citrus peel. Added to some processed foods to boost fiber.
Slows rate of passage of food through the gut, may help reduce blood cholesterol.
Polydextrose polyols
Soluble
Added to processed foods to add bulk and as a sugar substitute. Artifically made from from sorbitol, dextrose and citric acid.
Helps prevent constipation. Adds bulk to food. May cause bloating or excess gas.
Psyllium
Soluble
Extracted from seeds or husks of plantago ovata plant. Used in high fiber drinks, supplements and many processed foods.
Helps prevent constipation. Adds bulk to food. May cause bloating or excess gas.
Resistant starch
Soluble
Naturally found in cell walls unripened bananas, oatmeal and legumes. Extracted and added to processed foods to increase fiber.
Increasing fullness and may help weight control and dieting
Wheat dextrin
Soluble
Extracted from wheat starch. Used to add fiber in processed foods.
Helps lower LDL and total cholesterol in the bloods and may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease and .

Which Foods Contain the Most Natural Fiber?

The tables at the end of the article list the foods or various types with the highest fiber contents expressed as grams of fiber per 100g serving of the food.

Foods with the highest fiber contents (not ranked) are:

prunes, blackberries, raspberries, bran, cornmeal, bulgur, barley, whole wheat flour, artichokes, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, soybeans, lima beans, peas and beans (all kinds).

Foods with moderate fiber levels (not ranked) are:

apples, mangoes, blueberries, bananas, oranges, strawberries, pears, raisins, nuts, popcorn, whole wheat pasta, cabbage, asparagus, snap beans, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, okra, broccoli, dark leafy greens and lettuce.

Foods to Avoid:

processed foods from which the natural fiber has been removed: white flour, white bread, white pasta and white rice, vegetables without the skins such as potatoes.

Pros and Cons of Processed Cereals and Foods

While many processed breakfast cereals and snacks 9shown in the table below) have large amounts of added fiber, there are many reasons why they are undesirable in comparisons to natural foods:

  • The type of fiber may be different from the natural fiber in the grains used
  • Many cereals and particularly snack foods have high sugar level, well about that in the natural ingredients
  • Many cereals and particularly snack foods have high levels of fat.
  • Many contain chocolate and artificial and highly processed ingredient such as dried fruit derivatives.

Homemade high fiber cereals are much better

Recipe for Homemade Breakfast Cereal

Combining raw rolled oats with dried fruit, nuts, and spices creates an ideal high fiber breakfast cereal that avoid the high fat and sugar of the commercial processed breakfast cereal.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup red currants
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup of wheat germ ( optional: adds to fat and calories, but adds protein)
  • 1/4 cup of wheat bran ( optional: boosts fiber without adding extra calories or fat)

Method

For raw muesli simply combine all the ingredients in a container and add to a serving dish for each breakfast. Add milk (whole or skim milk) and top with low-fat yogurt. Heating for 2 minutes in a microwave warms the milk without cooking the muesli.

The muesli can be cooked in a microwave set on high for 3-4 minutes.

You can also cook the muesli on the stove for 3-6 minutes using moderate heat and stirring occasionally.

Nutrient Analysis per 1-cup serving of dry cereal:

Calories: 460; Total fat: 20 g; Sat fat: 6 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 0 mg; Carbohydrates: 66 g; Fiber: 14 g; Sugar: 24 g; Protein: 12 g

Note: 1 cup of muesli weighs about 85 g and so 100 g of this muesli contains about 20 g of fiber.

Processed Fiber with Highest Fiber Contents (g/100g)

Type of Food
Serving 100 g
Fiber (g)
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, UNCLE SAM CEREAL
20.3
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S CRACKLIN' OAT BRAN
12.7
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GRANOLA, COCOA BEACH Cereal
12.7
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GRANOLA, ORCHARD SPICE CEREAL
11.4
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, MALT-O-MEAL, TOASTY O'S
10.7
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI ORGANIC PROMISE CRANBERRY SUNSHINE
9.9
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, granola, homemade
9
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, OATMEAL CRISP with Almonds
7.5
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, POST, GREAT GRAINS Crunchy Pecan Cereal
7
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, QUAKER, 100% Natural Granola Oats and Honey
6.9
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, CHEERIOS, Yogurt Burst
6.7
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, QUAKER, QUAKER 100% Natural Cereal with oats, honey, and raisins
6.5
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cereal
6
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, rolled oats, whole wheat, rice, presweetened, maple flavored, with pecans
6
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, POST, OREO O's Cereal
5.5
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, QUAKER, SUN COUNTRY Granola with Almonds
5.2
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, COCOA PUFFS
5
processed cereal
Cereals ready-to-eat, MALT-O-MEAL, Apple Cinnamon TOASTY O's
5

Fruit, Berries, Vegetables and Dried Fruits with Highest Fiber Contents (g/100g)

Type of Food
Serving 100 g
Fiber (g)
berry
Raspberries, wild (Northern Plains Indians)
7.5
berry
Elderberries, raw
7
berry
Cranberries, wild, bush, raw (Alaska Native)
6.7
berry
loganberries; frozen
5.31
berry
Blackberries, raw
5.3
berry
Boysenberries, frozen, unsweetened
5.3
berry
Cranberries
4.6
berry
Blueberries; wild; frozen
4.43
berry
Gooseberries
4.27
dried fruit
bananas; dehydrated
10
dried fruit
figs; dried
9.76
dried fruit
apple; dried
8.84
dried fruit
peach; dried
8.25
dried fruit
dates
7.89
dried fruit
pear; dried
7.56
dried fruit
apricot; dried
7.38
dried fruit
prune
7.16
dried fruit
raisins; seeded
6.9
dried fruit
currants; zante
6.67
dried fruit
raisins; golden; seedless
3.86
fruit
persimmon; Japanese; dried
14.71
fruit
Passion-fruit, (granadilla), purple, raw
10.4
fruit
elderberries
7.03
fruit
avocado
6.67
fruit
Kumquats, raw
6.5
fruit
feijoa
6.43
fruit
Plums, wild (Northern Plains Indians)
6
fruit
nectarine
5.71
fruit
guava
5.45
fruit
mamey sapote
5.37
fruit
Sapodilla, raw
5.3
fruit
sapodilla
5.29
fruit
sugar-apple
4.39
fruit
pomegranate
3.97
fruit
grapes; muscadine
3.89
fruit
tangerine; mandarin
3.81
fruit
durian
3.79
fruit
pear; Asian
3.6
fruit
persimmon; Japanese
3.57
fruit
soursop
3.33
fruit
pear
3.09
fruit
kiwifruit; green
3.04
herb
Peppermint, fresh
8
herb
Spearmint, fresh
6.8
vegetable
tomatoes (sundried)
12.59
vegetable
Grape leaves, raw
11
vegetable
fireweed, leaves (raw)
10.43
vegetable
Artichokes, (globe or french), cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
8.6
vegetable
artichoke (cooked)
8.58
vegetable
wasabi, root (raw)
7.85
vegetable
tomatoes (sundried, packed in oil)
5.82
vegetable
Peas, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
5.5
vegetable
Artichokes, (globe or french), raw
5.4
vegetable
artichoke (raw)
5.39
vegetable
taro (cooked)
5.15
vegetable
Peas, green, raw
5.1
vegetable
Cowpeas (blackeyes), immature seeds, raw
5
vegetable
lotus root (raw)
4.94
vegetable
parsnips (raw)
4.81
vegetable
squash, winter, acorn (baked)
4.39
vegetable
horseradish-tree, pods (cooked)
4.24
vegetable
chicory greens (raw)
4.14
vegetable
taro (raw)
4.04
vegetable
lambsquarters (raw)
4
vegetable
yam (cooked)
3.97
vegetable
Brussels sprouts (raw)
3.75
vegetable
beet greens (raw)
3.68
vegetable
collards (raw)
3.61
vegetable
parsnips (cooked)
3.59
vegetable
taro leaves (raw)
3.57
vegetable
kohlrabi (raw)
3.56
vegetable
turnip greens (cooked)
3.47
vegetable
dandelion greens (raw)
3.45
vegetable
eggplant (raw)
3.41
vegetable
broccoli (cooked)
3.33
vegetable
sweet potato (baked, with skin)
3.33
vegetable
squash, winter, butternut (baked)
3.22
vegetable
burdock root (raw)
3.22
vegetable
mustard greens (raw)
3.21
vegetable
chrysanthemum, garland (raw)
3.2
vegetable
endive (raw)
3.2
vegetable
okra (raw)
3.2
vegetable
lotus root (cooked)
3.17
vegetable
cabbage, savoy (raw)
3.14
vegetable
olives; ripe; canned
3.13
vegetable
water chestnuts, chinese (raw)
3.06
vegetable
sweet potato (raw)
3
vegetable
fennel, bulb (raw)
2.99
vegetable
saiuerkraut (canned)
2.96
vegetable
carrots (cooked)
2.95
vegetable
beet greens (cooked)
2.92
vegetable
carrots, baby (raw)
2.88
vegetable
dandelion greens (cooked)
2.86
vegetable
dock (raw)
2.86
vegetable
collards (cooked)
2.84
vegetable
broccoli raab (cooked)
2.8
vegetable
onions, spring or scallions (raw)
2.8
vegetable
beets (raw)
2.79

Grains, Nuts, Breads and Seeds with Highest Fiber Contents (g/100g)

Type of Food
Serving 100 g
Fiber (g)
baked goods
Taco shells, baked, without added salt
7.5
bean
Soybeans, mature seeds, raw
9.3
bean
Beans, black turtle soup, mature seeds, canned
6.9
bean
Beans, cranberry (roman), mature seeds, canned
6.3
bean
Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, canned
5.4
bean
Beans, kidney, all types, mature seeds, canned
5.3
bean
Refried beans, canned, traditional style (includes USDA commodity)
5.1
bread
Organic Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
8.82
bread
Wonder Whole Grain Wheat Bread
7.02
bread
Bread, cornbread, dry mix, enriched (includes corn muffin mix)
6.5
bread
Wonder Stoneground 100% Whole Wheat
5.88
bread
Whole Grain Loaf
5.26
bread
Rye Loaf
3.51
bread
Honey Wheat Loaf
3.51
bread
White Whole Grain
3.51
bread
Wonder Whole Grain Honey Wheat Bread
3.51
bread
Sesame Semolina Loaf
1.75
bread
Ciabatta
1.75
bread
3 Cheese Loaf
1.75
bread
Sourdough Round Loaf
1.75
bread
Tomato Basil Loaf
1.75
cracker
Crackers, whole-wheat, reduced fat
10.9
cracker
Crackers, whole-wheat, low salt
10.5
cracker
Crackers, whole-wheat
10.3
grain
bulgur wheat
18.125
grain
barley
17.5
grain
rye
15
grain
oat bran
15
grain
triticale
14.375
grain
wheat
12.5
grain
oats
10.625
grain
spelt wheat
10.625
grain
buckwheat
10
grain
rolled oats
10
grain
millet
8.75
grain
corn
7.5
grain
amaranth
6.875
grain
quinoa
6.875
grain
sorghum
6.25
grain
wild rice
6.25
grain
brown rice
3.75
nut
Nuts, almonds
12.2
nut
Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw
10.3
nut
Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts
9.7
nut
Nuts, pecans
9.6
nut
Peanuts, all types, oil-roasted, with salt
9.4
nut
Nuts, mixed nuts, dry roasted, with peanuts, without salt added
9
nut
Nuts, macadamia nuts, raw
8.6
nut
Peanuts, all types, raw
8.5
nut
Peanuts, all types, dry-roasted, with salt
8
nut
Peanut butter, chunk style, with salt
8
nut
Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched
7.5
nut
Nuts, walnuts, english
6.7
seed
Seeds, chia seeds, dried
37.7
seed
Seeds, flaxseed
27.3
seed
Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried
11.8
seed
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried
8.6
seed
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried
6
snack
Snacks, popcorn, oil-popped, microwave, regular flavor
8.1
snack
Snacks, NUTRI-GRAIN FRUIT AND NUT BAR
7.5
snack
Snacks, granola bars, hard, plain
5.3
spread
Peanut butter, smooth style, with salt
6

© 2014 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 6 comments

RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

This is a good reference and I'm bookmarking it.

Thank you for all the trouble you went to with making the tables/charts.

Rachael


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Thanks I am bookmarking this too; great info and I want to make the homemade cereal this week (with a few alterations for the tropics, of course.)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I struggle with getting enough fiber. Thanks for the awesome work you did. Much appreciated, and others will no doubt benefit by your excellent presentation.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Thanks for an informative well organized hub on fiber. I eat wheat dextrin supplement and olive oil to add to my other foods. You spent good time creating charts to help us eat the right foods. I will also bookmark this hub and also share it. Blessings. Audrey


SCDC of AZ profile image

SCDC of AZ 2 years ago from Sun City Arizona

how many grams in a teaspoon?


amuno profile image

amuno 2 years ago from Kampala

Well detailed hub indeed. I take refuge in beans around me and I believe it helps.

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