Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes that the body can't digest. Yes, fiber supports your gut health by preventing constipation, but it can also help you manage your weight and lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, per the Mayo Clinic.
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With all of these potential health benefits, it's no wonder the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends eating at least 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories.
To help meet your daily needs, you'll need to start paying attention to nutrition facts labels. Looking at a nutrition label, you can easily find the percent daily value for fiber in a 2,000-calorie diet to see how much a particular food serving contributes to your daily recommended allowance. This can help you choose foods higher in fiber to help reach your goals.
How to Calculate How Much Fiber You Need Per Day
Children over 2 and adults eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories they eat, as recommended by the USDA in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.
If your calorie goal is lower or higher than 2,000 calories per day, you can find the amount of fiber you should be eating by dividing your calorie goal by 1,000 and then multiplying that number by 14. For example, if you aim for 1,500 calories per day, you will divide 1,500 by 1,000, which equals 1.5. Multiply 1.5 by 14 for a goal of 21 grams of fiber per day.
Use the chart below to find the recommended fiber for common calorie goals.
If you eat fewer or more than 2,000 calories in a day, here's an easy way to calculate the percent daily value of fiber that food has for your diet.
Total Daily Calories
Calculating Fiber Daily Values
1. Look for the Carbs and Fiber Counts
Find the line titled "Total Carbohydrates" on the nutrition facts label. Underneath this, find the line that says "Dietary Fiber."
Here, you'll find a number of grams of dietary fiber per a single serving of the food.
2. Divide the Fiber Amount by Your Total Fiber Goals
Nutrition facts labels include the percent daily value for fiber for a 2,000-calorie diet, which requires 28 grams of fiber per day, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Take the grams of fiber and divide this number by the reference number of 28, or the reference number provided above for your own calorie goals.
For example, if you ate a serving of baby carrots containing 2 grams of fiber, you would divide 2 by 28, which equals 0.07.
3. Multiply That Number by 100
Multiply the number you got in step 2 by 100 to get a percentage.
For example, 0.07 multiplied by 100 percent equals 7 percent. This means that eating one serving of baby carrots gives you 7 percent of the total fiber you should be eating in a day.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?
Fiber helps with weight loss by helping you feel full and satiated, so you're likely to eat fewer calories. High-fiber foods (like vegetables) tend to be low in calories and take longer to eat, which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food, per the Mayo Clinic.
So if your goal is weight loss, you'll want to prioritize eating more fiber. A February 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who ate 30 grams of fiber per day lost weight without changing anything else in their diets.