If you’re like most Americans, you don’t get enough fiber in your diet. The average adult should eat 14 grams of dietary fiber per day for good health. But statistics show that more than half of American adults only consume about half that amount. It’s not just a problem for adults though; kids need their share too! This is where the Fiber Calculator comes in: it’ll help you figure out how much fiber you should be eating each day based on your age, gender, and activity level.
Where is fiber found?
Fiber is found in plant foods, not meat, dairy products, or refined foods.
- Fruits: apples, pears, oranges, melons, and berries are high in fiber. Bananas and avocados also contain a fair amount of this indigestible but nonetheless important nutrient.
- Vegetables: bell peppers (especially green and red), potatoes with skin on them (baked or boiled), corn on the cob—all are very high in fiber content as well as other essential nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium that help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure.
- Beans: lentils (red or brown), black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, soybeans, etc.
Not all fiber is equal
Some people think that fiber is fiber. Not so! There are actually two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water, while insoluble fibers do not.
Insoluble fibers are found in foods that contain no soluble fiber (think fruit) or they’re the part of a plant that our bodies can’t digest (think cellulose). Insoluble fibers tend to be harder to digest, but they help keep us full longer and can reduce our risk for certain diseases like cancer and heart disease by helping us maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Do you know what else keeps us full? Carbs! So if you want more bang for your buck when it comes to satiety, look for foods with both kinds of fiber!
How much fiber should you eat each day?
If you’re wondering how much fiber you should be eating each day, the answer is “more than you probably are.” Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of it. A healthy daily intake of fiber varies based on age and gender:
- Adults aged 19 to 50 should consume 38 grams per day (25 grams for women).
- Adults over 50 should consume 30 grams per day (21 grams for women).
- Children ages 4 to 8 should have 25 grams of fiber per day.
- Children ages 9 to 18 should have 28 grams of fiber per day.
Adults who are overweight or obese need more than those who are at a healthy weight. This includes seniors who have been diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease. They may also need more if they have trouble absorbing nutrients from food because their digestive tract doesn’t work as well as it used to due to age and illness.
How to use the fiber calculator
The fiber calculator uses a few different criteria in order to determine your optimal daily fiber intake. With all things nutrition-based, there is no universal value, meaning that everyone requires a different amount of fiber. So, in order to calculate your optimal intake, you need to enter:
- Your sex
- Your height
- Your weight
- Your age
- How many times you exercise per week
- Daily calorie intake – optional – the calculator will approximate your calorie intake, but if you know the exact value, you can enter that as well
The different types of fiber have different functions. Some of them are: influencing your stool, your gut flora, and cholesterol regulation.
The ones you should keep an eye out for are: barley, chickpeas, edamame, lentils, split peas, berries, pears, and artichoke hearts.
Some consequences of fiber deficiency are constipation/bloating, blood sugar fluctuations, high cholesterol, and low energy.