You may have heard that eating enough fibre can help you lose weight, thanks to its ability to help you feel full and regulate blood sugar. But is it possible to eat too much of this important nutrient? In short, yes — and it can lead to some unpleasant side effects.
The daily recommendations for fibre is is 28 grams a day for women under age 50 and 21 grams for women over 50, said Autumn Ehsaei, MS, RDN, LDN. But even if you're loading up on high-fibre foods, such as leafy greens, fruit, and whole grains, it's pretty hard to go over the recommendations.
"It is possible to eat too much fibre, although probably unlikely that a general healthy person eating a standard American diet would reach that high threshold," Autumn told POPSUGAR. She added that she rarely encounters patients who eat too much fibre; more often than not, she finds that people don't get nearly enough fibre.
But if you do eat too much fibre, complications include constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, dehydration, and stomach cramps. "Constipation tends to occur from too much soluble fibre: oats, peas, beans, apples," Emily Holdorf, MS, RD, Founder and Consulting Dietitian at EmPowered Nutrition, told POPSUGAR. "Diarrhoea can occur due to too much insoluble fibre: whole wheat flour, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes."
Autumn said she finds a lot of these unpleasant side effects also happen when people increase how much fibre they eat too quickly. If you currently don't eat enough fibre, it's best to slowly increase your daily intake until you reach the recommended amount and stay hydrated to avoid digestive and gastrointestinal issues, Emily added.
"Fibre is essential for a healthy microbiome, energy and blood sugar regulation, disease prevention, and satiety, so I always encourage people to focus on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains," Autumn told POPSUGAR. "If they are eating an appropriate amount for their bodies, they probably won't have any issues."