Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024

Signs your body is telling you that you’ve had too much fibre, according to an RD



Abdominal pain, gas, and other GI issues could indicate you’ve overdone your fibre intake, experts say

Fibre plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health. The recommended daily intake is 30 grams, but consuming too much fibre can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Registered dietitian and neuronutritionist Melanie Murphy Richter explains how excessive fibre intake can cause problems and how to increase fibre safely.

Most Americans fall short of the recommended fibre intake. Data suggests only 5 percent of Americans meet the daily fibre requirements. As a result, many people experience adverse side effects when they rapidly increase their fibre consumption. Richter emphasizes the importance of gradually increasing fibre intake to avoid gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, gas, and nausea.

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Bloating and gas are common symptoms of excessive fibre intake. When the body isn’t accustomed to large amounts of fibre, it can pass into the large intestine and ferment, causing bloating and gas. Over time, the gut should adjust to higher fibre levels, but the initial increase can be uncomfortable.

Bowel irregularities can also indicate excessive fibre intake. Large amounts of fibre can either speed up or slow down bowel movements, leading to diarrhoea or constipation. Adequate hydration is crucial to help fibre move smoothly through the digestive system. Without enough fluids, fibre can cause constipation by bulking up the stool.

Abdominal pain or cramps often result from a sudden increase in fibre. Fibre can cause the intestines to contract quickly, leading to sharp cramps. Additionally, fibre bulks up the stool and can stretch the stomach, causing pain. This discomfort typically subsides as the body adjusts to higher fibre levels.

Nausea after eating can be a sign of too much fibre. Excessive fibre slows digestion, causing food to stay in the stomach longer. This delay can lead to a feeling of fullness and nausea. Gradually increasing fibre intake helps the body adapt and reduces the likelihood of nausea.

Dehydration is another potential issue with high fibre intake, especially with soluble fibre. Soluble fibre absorbs water to help move the bowels through the colon. Without adequate hydration, this can lead to dehydration and symptoms like fatigue. Drinking plenty of fluids is essential when increasing fibre intake.

Richter advises against consuming more than 70 grams of fibre per day. For context, men should consume about 35 grams, while women and children should aim for 20-25 grams. Gradually increasing fibre intake by 2-5 grams per week helps prevent digestive distress and allows the body to adjust.

To increase fibre intake safely, go slowly. The microbes in our gut need time to adjust to higher fibre levels. Sudden increases can lead to gastrointestinal issues and, in severe cases, intestinal blockages requiring medical attention. Gradual increases help the body adapt and maximize fibre’s benefits.

If you’ve consumed too much fibre, there are ways to find relief. Proper hydration helps fibre move through the bowels more easily. Exercise, such as walking or jogging, can alleviate constipation and support a healthy microbiome. Bowel massages, like the ileocecal valve massage, can also aid in relieving gas and moving food through the intestines.

Applying dry heat with a hot water bottle or heating pad can relax abdominal muscles and relieve cramps. Using a barrier, such as a blanket, between the skin and the heat source prevents skin irritation. Digestive herbs like ginger, fennel, peppermint, chamomile, and dandelion root can help alleviate bowel pressure and pain. These herbs are often consumed as tea, providing warmth and aiding digestion.

Understanding the signs of excessive fibre intake and knowing how to increase fibre safely can help maintain digestive health. Gradually increasing fibre and staying hydrated are key to reaping fibre’s benefits without experiencing adverse side effects.


The discussion around fibre intake highlights several important perspectives. From a health and nutritional standpoint, understanding how to manage fibre intake is essential for maintaining gastrointestinal health. The advice to increase fibre gradually and ensure proper hydration reflects the importance of a balanced approach to diet and nutrition.

Economically, the emphasis on fibre intake has implications for the food industry. As more people become aware of the need for adequate fibre, there may be an increased demand for fibre-rich foods and supplements. This demand can drive innovation in the food industry, leading to the development of new products that cater to this nutritional need.

Sociologically, the fact that only 5 percent of Americans meet the recommended fibre intake highlights a broader issue with dietary habits in the Western world. This statistic underscores the need for public health initiatives to educate people about the benefits of fiber and how to incorporate it into their diets safely. Improved education on nutrition can lead to better health outcomes for the population.

From a gender perspective, dietary recommendations often differ between men and women. Recognizing these differences is important for providing accurate nutritional advice. For instance, women and children generally require less fibre than men, which should be reflected in dietary guidelines and public health messaging.

Locally, communities can benefit from increased awareness and access to fiber-rich foods. Local health initiatives can promote the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which are natural sources of fiber. Community gardens, farmers’ markets, and local food programs can play a significant role in improving dietary habits.

Politically, the regulation of food labelling and nutritional information is crucial. Clear labelling helps consumers make informed choices about their fibre intake. Policies that support accurate and transparent labelling can empower individuals to manage their fibre consumption effectively and avoid the adverse effects of excessive fibre intake.

In conclusion, the insights provided by Melanie Murphy Richter emphasize the importance of managing fibre intake for optimal health. By considering various perspectives, including health, economic, sociological, gender, local, and political aspects, we can better understand the implications of fibre intake and promote healthier dietary habits across different populations.


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