University of Florida

Fiber Facts

Fiber is found in all plant based foods—it is the part of the plant we cannot digest. Some foods can have fiber added to them in the form of oat bran or pectin. Both naturally occurring and added sources make up your daily fiber intake.

Why Have Fiber?

Fiber in the diet

  • controls blood glucose;
  • reduces blood cholesterol;
  • promotes healthy intestinal functions;
  • gives a sense of “fullness” during and after eating, which helps with weight control.

Fiber can be either soluble or insoluble (referring to whether or not it dissolves in water). Both kinds contribute to your health, so make sure to have a wide variety of plant foods in your diet to get the most benefits.

How Much Fiber

Table 1. Adequate Intakes for fiber.


Grams of Fiber per Day

Men, 19 – 50


Men, 51+


Women, 19 – 50


Women, 51+


Women, Pregnant


Women, Breastfeeding


There is no upper limit on fiber intake from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Very high intakes of fiber can cause gas, bloating, and distension.

How to Get Fiber

Fruits and vegetables (especially ones with edible skins and seeds), beans, and grains are good sources of fiber. Read food labels on packaging to see the fiber content and look for fiber containing ingredients, especially whole grains and legumes.

Whole grains have more fiber than refined grains; make sure at least half of your daily grain servings are whole grain. These can come from whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, bran muffins, or graham crackers.

Fiber from food is best since foods are enjoyable to eat and have other nutritional benefits. Supplements are not a replacement for fiber from food, but can help, especially for people with constipation. If you think you need fiber supplements, talk with your healthcare provider first.

For more information or materials on fiber, visit your local county Extension agent or talk with a registered dietician.


Black Beans and Rice
  • 3 cans (16-oz) black beans, drained
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups cooked rice

In a skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic. Sauté for several minutes. Put beans into a saucepan; add the sautéed vegetables and heat. Serve the beans over rice and sprinkle with the chopped sweet onion. Makes eight servings. (One serving: 280 calories, 4 g fat, 10 g dietary fiber.)

Fruity Oatmeal

  • 2/3  cup water
  • 2/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1/2 small apple, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 3 Tbs oat bran
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 small banana

Bring milk and water almost to a boil. Add cinnamon, (salt), apple, rolled oats, and oat bran. Cook uncovered about five minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add brown sugar and sliced banana. Makes two servings. (One serving: 235 calories, 3 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber.)

White Bean and Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups canned white beans, drained
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano

In a small bowl gently mix beans, olive oil, and pepper. Add tomatoes, onion, and oregano; toss to mix. Makes four servings. (One serving: 230 calories, 7 ½ g fat, 7 ½ g dietary fiber).

Excerpted and adapted from:

J. Hillian, et al, Facts About Fiber (FCS8793), Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (rev. 1/2011).

L. Bobroff, Nutrition for Health and Fitness: Fiber in Your Diet (FCS8130), Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (rev. 11/2002).

fruit bowl

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