Can a Fiber Supplement Provide the Same Benefits as Fiber From Food?

### Fiber Supplements vs. Fiber-Rich Foods

Dr. Denise Millstine from the Mayo Clinic explains that while fiber supplements can help with bowel movements and digestive symptoms, they do not provide the same vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds found in fiber-rich foods. Fiber from supplements only offers fiber on its own, while fiber from meals also includes other essential nutrients.

### Benefits of Fiber-Rich Foods

Nutrition research professor Nicola McKeown highlights the importance of fiber-rich foods in reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, and maintaining a healthy gut. Experts recommend getting most of your daily fiber requirement from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains to reap these benefits.

### Strategies to Increase Fiber Intake

To meet your daily fiber goal, dietitian Julia Zumpano suggests including a fruit or vegetable in every meal or adding fiber-rich seeds like flax or chia to foods like oatmeal or smoothies. If getting enough fiber is still a challenge, supplements in the form of powders, gummies, or capsules can be helpful.

### Getting the Most Out of Fiber Supplements

Research fellow in nutrition Megan Rossi advises consulting a doctor or dietitian before taking fiber supplements if you have digestive issues. When adding supplemental fiber to your diet, start slowly to avoid digestive discomfort. Powder-based supplements like wheat dextrin, psyllium, and inulin are recommended for their simplicity and mixability.

### Considerations for Fiber Supplements

Zumpano warns against fiber pills and gummies that may contain additives like sugar or artificial ingredients. It’s essential to choose a supplement with three to five grams of fiber per serving and gradually increase intake as your body adjusts. Drinking plenty of water is crucial when taking fiber supplements to prevent constipation, and checking labels for unwanted ingredients is advised.

Original Story at www.nytimes.com – 2024-07-09 09:00:38

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