Side Effects of Fiber Cereal

Dietary fiber allows for digestive regularity and helps you feel full for longer after eating. A diet rich in fiber can even decrease your risk for serious diseases such as colon cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005. The recent development of breakfast cereals with extra fiber added makes easier the task of ingesting your daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. However, these cereals may lead to adverse side effects, especially soon after they are first introduced into your diet.

Two bowls of cereal topped with fruit. (Image: tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images)

Bloating

One common side effect of fiber cereal is abdominal bloating, an abnormal and uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the abdomen. This often occurs since the extremely high fiber content of some fiber cereals can shock the digestive system at first, since your body may not be accustomed to digesting foods so rich in fiber. AskDrSears.com explains that bloating can indicate too much fiber in your diet. Slowly increasing your dietary fiber intake with fiber cereal, instead of rapidly switching from a fiber-poor to a fiber-rich diet, allows your body to slowly adjust to your new diet, and can minimize uncomfortable bloating.

Diarrhea

Another possible side effect of eating fiber cereal is diarrhea, reports AskDrSears.com. Stool consistency is determined by a number of factors, including the time the digested food rests within the colon, or large intestine. Stool that remains in the colon for long becomes dry, potentially leading to constipation. Stool that passes through the colon too quickly leads to watery loose stool, or diarrhea. Since fiber intake increases the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, drastically increasing your fiber intake with fiber cereal can cause stool to move through the colon too quickly, causing diarrhea. Gradually introducing fiber cereal into your diet can help prevent digestive side effects, including diarrhea, by allowing your body to adjust to the new diet.

Blood Sugar Regulation

In rare cases, drastically increasing your fiber intake via consumption of fiber cereal can lead to more serious side effects. Medline Plus, run by the National Institutes of Health, explains that blond psyllium, a type of fiber added in some fiber cereals, can have an effect on blood sugar levels. Blood glucose is regulated by a number of hormones and tissues, that work to prevent blood sugar levels from becoming too high or low. Blond psyllium can help lower blood sugar levels, preventing the blood sugar spikes that can occur following ingestion of processed carbs or sugars. This effect of fiber cereal can prove beneficial for diabetics with high blood sugar, but could prove harmful if you are already at risk of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. If you suffer from any blood-related or metabolic disorders, always consult with a physician before making changes to your diet to avoid negative side effects.

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