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What happens to our body due to excess fiber?

What happens to our body due to excess fiber?

Excessive consumption of fiber can cause some complications in the body, although it is a substance that is almost always beneficial. In any case, we invite you to know what the risks of abusing it are.

Daily consumption of foods that provide fiber is necessary to maintain general health. Its contribution has a direct influence on the regulation of intestinal transit, even improving mood.

Dietary fiber in health

This compound is a group of indigestible substances that are chemically classified as soluble and insoluble. They are found in plant foods: fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.

Thus, various research has suggested that it has positive effects in preventing constipation, improving the quality of the intestinal microbiota, and preventing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer, among other pathologies.

In relation to this, entities such as the World Health Organization recommend providing a sufficient amount of fiber, which means an average of 25 grams per day.

"The fiber in cereals is consumed a lot at breakfast, but excess fiber can be harmful."

What happens when there is excess fiber?

However, in addition to the fact that this dietary component is not digested, it has the ability to carry with it substances such as cholesterol, some vitamins and certain minerals. Therefore, they are eliminated along with fecal matter.

From there, then, some of the complications that appear after excess fiber arise. Below, we will tell you about this topic in more detail.

Digestive problems

One of the complications of excess fiber is the appearance of flatulence and abdominal distention. This can frequently be noticed in people who are not used to it, as happens after eating unsoaked legumes.

Depending on the amount of gas generated, significant discomfort and pain from bloating can occur. This comes from the excessive accumulation of flatus in the gastrointestinal tract.

According to some scientific studies, when daily intake exceeds normal values, in addition to the aforementioned discomforts, the following can also be observed:

  • Loose stools and diarrhea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Intestinal obstruction, as long as sufficient water is not provided.

Alteration in the absorption of certain minerals

Continued excessive intake of dietary fiber can have an anti-nutritive effect and affect the absorption of minerals, such as calcium, iron, copper and zinc.

These form insoluble compounds with elements that make up fiber, such as phytates from cereals, tannates present in lentils, broad beans, spinach and bananas, or with oxalates from cauliflower and beans. Consequently, their metabolism is affected.

Reduction in drug absorption

In addition to what was mentioned in the previous section, fiber can also reduce the effectiveness of drugs. This impairs the absorption of some antidepressants, iron supplements, and medications for diabetes or hypothyroidism, such as metformin and levothyroxine.

If you take some of them, it is advisable that you wait a period of 3 or 4 hours to consume foods that contain fiber. In any case, consult with a doctor or nutritionist to suggest the most appropriate way to use them.

Recommendations to avoid excess fiber


In general, it is suggested that fiber in the diet have a ratio of 3:1. In this sense, the fraction that should predominate is the insoluble one. Some foods that contain it are whole grains, beans, peas, and most ripe fruits.

On the other hand, products such as carrots, citrus fruits, dried legumes, plums and oats are some in which soluble fiber is found. For this reason, it is recommended that the intake of vegetables be varied.

In relation to this issue, nutritionists have developed some practical guidelines to ensure the provision of dietary fiber in adequate proportions, among which are the following:

  • 3 daily servings of vegetables.
  • 2 daily servings of fruits. Better whole than juice.
  • 6 daily servings of cereals, whether in the form of bread, breakfast cereals, pasta or rice. It is advisable that they be comprehensive products.
  • 4 or 5 servings of legumes a week.

Excess fiber: what to remember?

To deal with the digestive symptoms that excess fiber can cause, it is advisable to avoid fibrous products such as legumes, whole grains, and raw fruits and vegetables for some time.

Also remember that to prevent dehydration you must provide sufficient water. In any case, if the discomfort does not subside, consult a medical professional immediately.


"Because prevention is better than cure"

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