5 Signs You May Be Consuming Too Much Fiber

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Too much fiber can be just as troublesome as not enough, so it’s good to know the signs of taking it too far. While it may be better to err on the side of too much rather than too little. We’re after the Goldilocks of fiber intake, and getting it “just right” is the only way to go.

Here are 5 obvious ways to tell you may be eating too much fiber…

1. Gas and Bloating

too much fiber causes bloatingEven though there are several benefits of getting enough fiber, taking in too much can leave you bloated and gassy. Ironically, when you get your fiber intake right you should experience far less gas and bloating than you did before increasing your fiber.

Finding the right amount of fiber to keep your digestive system balanced is key. You don’t need to be overzealous and overcompensate for a lack of fiber by eating more than is necessary.

Your body thrives on moderation and variety, so don’t rely on any one food item to bring you all the fiber you need. Make it a group effort from fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

What causes it: Insoluble fiber moves through the body without being digested, and there are certain foods that are high in fiber that are known for increasing the amount of gas in your system. Broccoli is one high-fiber vegetable known for causing digestive difficulties. Beans are another notorious food for the gas they can produce, as well as the fiber they contain.

2. Loose Stools

Too much fiber can lead to loose stools and diarrhea if you’re not careful. Loose stools are a sign that the food didn’t spend enough time in the digestive tract, and is a signal that you may want to slow your fiber intake.

Eating a balanced meal is one way to insure that you’re getting enough fiber, as well as other foods that aren’t so fiber-laden. Combining a protein with a high-fiber food as well as a carbohydrate will help you feel full longer while making sure you don’t take in so much fiber at once. For example, a chicken breast served with a spinach salad and a baked sweet potato gives you plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, but not too much fiber since the chicken contains zero fiber.

What causes it: Foods need time to be digested, and loading up on fiber can push them through before they’re ready. When you are getting the right amount of fiber you’ll know it because your stools will have bulk, will be easy to pass, and will stick together in the toilet after you pass them.

3. Constipation

It seems counterintuitive that fiber could cause constipation, as its usually recommended as a preventive measure or reliever. But because fiber soaks up water it can result in stools that are hard to pass and spend too long in the digestive tract.

If you are trying to get more fiber in your diet, make sure that you’re also getting enough water. If you were previously dehydrated, a common problem in America, and increased your fiber intake, you may have noticed that it didn’t help matters. Gradually increase your water intake as you increase your fiber. It’s the only way to experience the benefits of proper fiber intake.

What causes it: The right amount of fiber reduces the chances of constipation, while too much can cause it. This happens because of the water that fiber needs in order to do its job. Getting more fiber without increasing your water intake can result in constipation.

4. Dehydration

dehydrationKeeping your water intake the same while increasing your fiber will likely lead to dehydration. This is because fiber uses up a lot of water in your system, and can leave your internal organs deprived of what they need. Every organ benefits from getting enough water, and as a result your body suffers when there isn’t enough water to go around.

This of course can be caused by drinking too little water rather than taking in too much fiber. If you notice that you are drinking plenty of water and still feeling the side effects of being dehydrated, it’s time to check your fiber intake.

What causes it: Not drinking enough water while taking in too much fiber can leader to faster dehydration. The fiber will soak up the available water, leaving your body dehydrated. Be sure to increase your water when you increase your fiber, and don’t exceed your daily recommended fiber grams.

5. Weight Gain

weight gain symptomIf you’re increasing your fiber to help slim down to your optimal healthy weight, you might be perturbed to find that you’ve actually gained weight. But this is exactly what some dieters have reported when they attempt to get on the fiber train.

Take it easy when you attempt to increase your fiber. The body doesn’t respond well to drastic changes, and it isn’t going to do any good to try and correct the problem overnight. If you only got an average of 10 grams of fiber a day and are trying to get 30 grams or more, that’s quite a shock to the system. Try getting 15 grams a day for a week, 20 grams the following week, and keep increasing by 5 grams every week so you can ease your body into this new way of eating. It could be that you are loading up on the wrong foods in attempt to increase your fiber intake, such as too many starchy carbs.

What causes it: Most reports of weight gain from too much fiber are due to eating too many of the wrong foods, such as highly inflammatory processed carbohydrates. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables that reduce inflammation in the body and stay away from the processed cereals, bagels, breads and other starchy carbs.

Users Comments:

  • Charlie

    Point 5 is misleading and I hope it hasn’t deterred anyone away from slowly building up their finer intake. Eating a lot of fiber may cause constipation/bloating etc. as the earlier points rightfully acknowledge but that is completely different to actual weight gain.


  • James T O'Brien

    I have been eating broccoli salad for the past three months and have so much gas and bloating that I have come to the conclusion that the amount eaten daily is entirely to much. The taste including “Ken’s Lite Italian dressing” is really a great taste. However, I am searching for a alternative fiber to eat with my meal. If anybody has knowledge of a good site that has good fiber sources to plan meals around I would appreciate this information.

    • Alexa Waldmann

      Chia seeds are a great source of fiber that do not seem to have those side effects.

    • Steve

      One Word: Lentils. Lentils have almost no fat, lots of protein and a LOT of fiber. They’re easy to cook and do not have a strong taste like some other beans and legumes. In fact they’re down-right boring if you don’t add your own spices—which is great because it means they can be added to soups and other food without imparting an undesirable taste like Broccoli and other stinky fiber sources.

      Lentils are really great; I’ve been increasing my fiber intake purely by eating 1-2 servings of lentils per day with good results (35-70 g dry, I weigh mine because measuring spoons have spotty accuracy for things like beans or rice).

      • Rick

        Lentils are also loaded with carbs. I would caution anyone attempting weight loss to not increase carb intake to get fiber. The net intake of carbs from chia is much lower than lentils. The first thing a doctor tells pre-diabetics is to lower carb intake, not increase lentils. Blood glucose levels are very much related to carbs. Chia is a much better alternative. Diabetic research is pretty clear. Also, everyone needs to start viewing the Food Pyramid as a cartoon and not a guideline. Just check out how the food pyramid came into to being on Wikipedia. It nothing but grain industry nepotism. AND always remember the hidden mantra of BIG PHARMA, “There is no money in the cure.” Trust this.

    • Erik Castillo

      My theory is lay off the broccoli and salad dressing and replace it with rice pilaf if you love salad try spinach with cruetons and buy avocados two slice them on your salad or put in a blender make avocados in blender make a guacamole with a little salt and lemon also although meat has protein so does chicken and it’s healthier for you avoid white rice because it’s loaded with starcht tons of it which turns in to sugar which causes diabetes one and diabetes two as far as fiber lay off gassey veggies and try non gassey veggies also stick to delie ham or turkey fresh from the delie not the processed foods they have a high ratio for causing cancers in the human body my other suggestion is see a nutritionist and a gasteroligist to see what can help you ok godbless

  • Marianne Marr

    I take up to 9 fibre pills per day to prevent constipation as I’m on meds. for pain that can cause irregularity. I drink at least 10 bottles of water per day. Suddenly in the last 3 weeks my abdomen is so distended I look pregnant ( I’m 66). I’m also eating a bowl of raisin bran in the morning. Is this causing this problem. M.Marr

    • A Joe

      That distended belly could be a sign of something totally different. Hope you’ve been to the Gastroenterologist ? Distended belly could be signs of a blockage or worse.

  • Brad K

    Try to eat whole fresh foods more rather than going on a diet or eating low calorie dressings. Sugars in general are not good for you or your intestines. I see raisin bran, lite dressing, pills above that raise red flags.

  • Bob

    If you have a few extra dollars consult a Dietitian. Don’t take medical advice from non-medical “professionals” you may be harming yourself. I learn the hard way. It consulted a dietitian and her suggestions really made a difference. It was only $150.00 for 90 minute consultation. Money well-spent.

  • Charlotte

    I’ve had troubles with constipation for years due to not eating enough. Now, I’ve started eating overnight chia pudding every morning since a few weeks. It includes 1.5 tbsp of chia, 3 heaping tbsp of oat/barley mix, 6 almonds and 1 tbsp of flaxseeds with dairy or non-dairy milk and fruits/berries + sometimes 1-2 tbsp of honey and greek yoghurt. It’s extremely filling, but delicious. Anyway, I guess I increased my fiber intake too fast, because I’ve been pretty bloated and having loose stools for some days now. I really don’t want to stop eating this breakfast as it gives me amazing energy every morning. I’ve also started eating salads and drinking enough water every day. Am I eating too much fiber or will these troubles pass eventually when my body gets used to the fiber? I read that it should pass in about 2 weeks, but now it is 3 weeks ago since I started this breakfast routine. The constipation stopped almost immediately, and the loose stool started a few days ago.

  • George Martinez jr

    I notice this same symptoms when I eat to much after having less.. I added Apples and Carrots to much Lunch. not I also have to go No 2 LOT MORE SOME TIME diariea Maybe I should Drink more Water at6 the same time

  • John

    I started regularly taking fiber about six weeks ago, and take more than recommended on the package of Metamucil. I feel fantastic, look slimmer, and have been weighing myself before and after my regular bowel movements and typically evacuate 10-12 lbs per. Definitely build up gradually, though.

  • Johnna

    Thank you all for this information, all of it is very doable.
    The only questions I didn’t see answered we’re you to take all 11 everyday? Or a few of each everyday and still receive the full benefits?

  • melynda

    Just recently I read that Metamucil would improve cholesterol because of soluble fiber content. I took one or two doses (of a store brand) for about two weeks. I felt really bloated, My stomach was big and then I noticed my ankles were swelling and thighs too, I think. I had a already scheduled appointment with my ob/gyn. My BP was out of the ball park. I came to the conclusion that my body had retained way too much water and I was on the verge of a stroke or heart attack. I stopped the supplement, changed to natural foods for solubles, found out about the many benefits of teas (some with diuretic effects) and still drank plenty of water. It’s been a few days but my BP is slowly going down. Sadly, I almost killed myself.

    • Andre

      I’ve been eating 80g of fibre per day for the last 10 months (I write down and calculate everything I eat) and I have been loosing weight… a lot. So I’m not sure about point #5.

      I had gas and loose stools for a while though. So I’ll be reducing my fibre to 38g.

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