97 percent of American men do not eat enough fiber! Consuming enough fiber is important since it can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and reduce the risk for chronic diseases. How much fiber should you eat then?
Men should eat 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. This is recommended from age 2 onwards. A moderately active man who eats 2800 calories should eat 39 grams of fiber a day.
Here is a more specific chart on the fiber need for men. You can check more specific details in the dietary guidelines for Americans.
|Calorie need||Minimum fiber amount men should eat a day in grams|
To be able to know you fiber need it is good to count the calorie need for you. But you can aim to get 30-40 grams of fiber at minimum per day. To know how much fiber you consume you can use a tracking app to write the foods you have consumed throughout the day. Chronometer app is good for this on your mobile phone.
How to count your calorie need?
It isn't easy to give exact fiber recommendations for different ages because each individual needs a different amount of calories. On average, men need 2500 calories a day and 35 grams of fiber. To know your specific calorie need, you can use a calorie counter website. You can also count your calorie need manually.
To do the manual counting, you first need to count the basal metabolic rate called BMR. This is the number of calories your body needs for its basic functions without any physical activity.
To count BMR in pounds use this formula:
66+(6,3 x weight in lbs) + (12,9 x height inches) - (6,8 x age) = BMR
To count BMR in kilograms use this formula:
88,362 +( 13,379 x weight) + (4,799 x height, cm) - (5,677 x age)= BMR
For example, if you weigh 80 kilograms, are 185 cm tall, and 30 years your BMR is 1876 calories. You first count the numbers in parenthesis and then the rest in the equation.
After you have counted your BMR, you need to count your TDEE; this means your total daily energy expenditure. Use this table to count your TDEE.
|Activity level||Multiplier to BMR to get TDEE|
|Desktop work, rare exercise||1.2|
|Lightly active, 1-3 days of light exercise a week||1.375|
|3-5 days a week of moderate exercise||1.55|
|Active, 6-7 days a week exercise or physical work.||1.725|
|Physical work and exercise every day||1.9|
|Twice a day workout||1.9|
For the same guy in my example whose basal metabolic rate is 1876 calories, with desktop work and workouts after the day, his average calorie need is 2900. This makes his minimum fiber need to around 40-41 grams a day.
Where do you get fiber?
Fiber is the part of plants that you don´t digest. You get dietary fiber from all plant foods:
- Root vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Beans and lentils
There is also functional fiber, this means fiber is extracted or synthesized in a process from foods. This type of fiber is often used as supplements or food additives.
Types of fiber
There are also different types of fiber. Often they are categorized into the soluble and insoluble fiber. Most plant foods have both naturally. You can read more about the types of different fibers in my other article.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble does not. Often plants contain 20-30% soluble fiber and the rest is insoluble. Both of them have health benefits.
Resistant starch also acts fiber like and some also classify that as a type of insoluble fiber. You can get resistant starch for example from unripe bananas, legumes, beans, and cooled cooked potatoes and pasta.
Some common fiber types are for example:
- Cellulose, insoluble.
- Lignin, insoluble.
- Beta -Glucan, soluble.
- Psyllium, soluble. Often known as metamucil.
- Pectin, soluble.
- Inulin, soluble.
Benefits of soluble fiber
Soluble fiber forms into a gel-like substance and improves digestion. Soluble fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels and improve blood glucose levels. This can help to prevent diabetes.
Soluble fiber can also aid in weight control and weight loss. Fiber increases the sensation of satiation and can also prevent the absorption of fats somewhat.
Soluble fiber also feeds good gut bacteria. It ferments in the colon and forms into short-chain fatty acids. These SFCA:s have many health benefits. They have a key role in preventing inflammatory diseases.
Benefits of insoluble fiber
Insoluble fiber makes your stool softer and increases the mass. This helps the bowel regularity. Insoluble fiber is very important so you don't get constipation. But you also need to consume fluids together with fiber. Often foods high in fiber also have fluids, such as fruits.
Insoluble fiber can also help insulin sensitivity. It may be beneficial to prevent some types of cancers also. One theory is that foods can have toxic substances, but fiber makes the food pass through the body a bit faster, so not so much of the toxic waste is absorbed, decreasing cancer risk.
What sources have the most fiber?
Although all plants have fiber there are some foods that have more fiber than others. Below I made a list of some common foods that are high in fiber. To read more complete lists of all plant categories, read the article on highest fiber foods.
|Food/ 100 grams||Fiber in grams|
|Black beans, cooked||15,5|
|Whole grain pasta, cooked||9,7|
Should you use fiber supplements?
It can feel tempting to use fiber supplements, but it is always good to get the fiber from the plant source itself. From supplements you often only get one type of fiber, but in plants there are many types of fiber and all of them feed different types of gut bacteria. By eating a diversity of different plant foods you get a healthy gut bacteria.
Some may still want to consume fiber supplement; common fiber supplement types often are soluble fibers, like psyllium husk, this is made from the psyllium plant. Some fiber types can cause gas, bloating, and even constipation, so it is always good to consult with your doctor when supplementing. Some supplements may also have contraindications with some medications.
Eat this to get over 40 grams of fiber a day
Here are meal plan examples of foods you can eat throughout the day to get enough fiber.
- Breakfast: 4 slices of rye bread, 50g hummus, and ½ bell pepper
- Snack: 1 pear, 30 g almonds
- Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad with 300 grams cooked pasta, 100g cherry tomatoes, ½ bell pepper, and 100g broccoli and other condiments.
By lunch you have consumed 41 grams of fiber! So in the evening you dont have to stress about more veggies or fruits. But it is healthy to eat some even then.
- Breakfast. Rolled oats 100g made to porridge with 1 tbsp chia seeds and 100 g raspberries.
- Snack. 1 Banana
- Lunch. 1 big sweet potato with avocado filling.
In this example also you have got 40 grams of fiber after lunch.
For someone following a keto diet
- Breakfast: Chia pudding, 3 tbsp seeds, and 100 grams blueberries.
- Snack: 40 grams almonds
- Lunch: Salad with chicken or tofu, broccoli 200 grams, 2 avocados, greens, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds.
Also, following a low-carb diet, you can get enough fiber. In this example, you get 40 grams after lunch. Total carbs 18g.