What Is Fibre Deficiency?

  • Linda Eva Seuna Master of Professional in Applied Nutrition, University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon

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Introduction

Are you feeling tired, bloated, or experiencing digestive issues? You may be dealing with a fibre deficiency.

Our blog post delves deep into the issue of fibre deficiency. We explore various important aspects, such as the signs and symptoms to be aware of.

Additionally, we provide effective solutions that can help improve your overall health and vitality by incorporating more fibre into your diet.

If you're interested in getting the most out of fibre and learning some valuable tips, keep reading our post for insightful information!

Key takeaways:

  • Fibre is an important nutrient that helps keep our digestive system healthy.
  • Not getting enough fibre can lead to constipation, weight gain, and other health problems.
  • The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25-38 grams for adults.
  • You can get fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • If you're not getting enough fibre from your diet, you may want to consider taking a fibre supplement.

Dietary fibre: definition, types & health benefits

Dietary fibres are a specific type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot break down and digest. They are typically found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, for adults on a 2000-calorie per-day diet, the recommended daily intake of fibre generally falls between 25 to 38 grams.1

Moreover, different types of dietary fibres offer various health benefits. Some common examples include:2

  • Soluble fibres

Soluble fibres dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. They play a role in slowing down digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, and lowering cholesterol.

Some soluble fibre-rich foods include oats, barley, lentils, apples, citrus fruits, and psyllium husk.

  • Insoluble fibres

Unlike soluble fibre, this type of fibre does not dissolve in water; instead, it adds bulk to the stool, which aids in regular bowel movements and helps prevent constipation.

Some foods rich in insoluble fibre include whole wheat, brown rice, nuts and seeds, leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), cauliflower, and carrots.

  • Resistant starches

Resistant starch is a type of fibre that resists digestion in our small intestine and reaches the large intestine intact. It feeds the good bacteria (prebiotics) in our gut and provides various health benefits.

Some examples include green bananas, cooked-and-cooled potatoes, and legumes.

  • Functional Fibre

This type of fibre is added to food products to provide extra health benefits. It can be found in fortified cereals, protein bars, and supplements.

Examples include inulin, psyllium husk, and cellulose.

What happens when you don’t consume enough fibre?

Fibre deficiency, a lack of dietary fibre, happens when we don't consume enough fibre according to the recommended levels.

Not consuming adequate amounts of fibre can have several health implications. Here are some important ones:

What are the signs and symptoms of fibre deficiency in the body?

A deficiency of fibre in the body can result in various symptoms and have an impact on your digestive health. Here are five common signs and symptoms of fibre deficiency:

  • Constipation: Fibre deficiency can lead to infrequent bowel movements, making it difficult to pass stool.
  • Weight management challenges: Lack of fibre in the diet may cause increased hunger and overeating, leading to weight gain.
  • Low energy levels: Insufficient fibre intake can result in decreased energy levels and feelings of fatigue.
  • Elevated cholesterol levels: A lack of fibre can contribute to high cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
  • Poor blood sugar control: Fibre deficiency may lead to unstable blood sugar levels, making it challenging to regulate glucose in the body.

If you suspect a fibre deficiency, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide guidance on how to increase your fibre intake through dietary changes or supplements.

What are the causes of fibre deficiency?

Fibre deficiency in the modern diet is a growing concern and can be attributed to several factors. Here are some of the main causes:

  • Inadequate dietary intake: Not consuming enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can lead to a lack of fibre in the diet.
  • Low-fibre food choices: Consuming processed and refined foods that are stripped of their natural fibre content can contribute to fibre deficiency.
  • Digestive disorders: Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis may impair the absorption and digestion of dietary fibre.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as opioids and some antacids, can cause constipation and reduce the intake and absorption of fibre.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can slow down digestion and reduce bowel movements, increasing the risk of fibre deficiency.

7 Tips to Increase fibre intake and prevent fibre deficiency

Increasing your fibre intake is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and preventing fibre deficiency. Here are five tips to help you incorporate more fibre into your diet:3

Choose high-fibre foods

Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your meals. These foods are excellent sources of dietary fibre and can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.

Opt for whole grains

Replace refined grains (such as white bread, pasta, and rice) with whole grains (such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa). Whole grains contain more fibre and other essential nutrients.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Aim to include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. These plant-based foods are not only rich in fibre but also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Include legumes in your diet

Legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are excellent sources of fibre. Add them to soups, stews, and salads, or use them as a meat substitute in dishes like chilli or tacos.

Snack on nuts and seeds

Nuts (such as almonds and walnuts) and seeds (such as chia seeds and flaxseeds) are packed with fibre and healthy fats. Enjoy them as a snack or sprinkle them onto salads, yoghurt, or oatmeal.

Fibre supplements

They can assist you in meeting your daily recommended intake of fibre. They can be easily incorporated into daily routines and are readily available in various forms, including powders, capsules, or chewable tablets.

Remember that it's important to gradually increase your fibre intake to allow your body to adjust. Additionally, it is advisable to drink plenty of water throughout the day when consuming high-fibre foods to prevent any digestive discomfort.

If you have specific dietary restrictions or medical conditions, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised advice on increasing your fibre intake.

Summary

Fibre deficiency can lead to various health problems, including constipation, weight gain, and heart disease. Increasing your fibre intake through dietary changes or supplements can help prevent fibre deficiency and improve your overall health.

References

  1. Nutrition C for FS and A. Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. FDA [Internet]. 2020 May 5; Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/daily-value-new-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels
  2. Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis Jr RH, Ferreri S, Knudtson M, Koraym A, et al. Health benefits of dietary fibre. Nutrition Reviews [Internet]. 2009 Apr;67(4):188–205. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012
  3. NHS. How to get more fibre into your diet [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2022. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/digestive-health/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/
  4. Low fibre Diet - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. www.sciencedirect.com. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/low-fibre-diet

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Linda Eva Seuna Kamaha

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, University of Yaounde
Master of Professional in Applied Nutrition, University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon

Linda is a clinical nutritionist and SEO health content marketer/writer with several years of experience. She loves demystifying complex health concepts and debunking myths to help people become more health-savvy. When she's not busy copywriting, blogging, or creating topic clusters, you'll probably catch her enjoying a delicious bowl of pineapple slices or embarking on a nature hike with her family.

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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