In short, the answer is Yes.
If you are dehydrated or don’t increase your water consumption along with increasing fiber intake, you could be doing more harm than help. Many people wonder why they continue to have digestive problems and constipation after getting more fiber in their diet and, often times, it turns out to be lack of hydration. In fact, fiber works best when taken with water/fluid. Below are the USDA recommended fiber and fluid needs:
Recommended fiber needs (USDA Guidelines):
The fiber recommendation for adults is 25 to 30 grams of total fiber (both soluble and insoluble) per day. A child’s need for fiber is based on age: 10 grams plus the child’s age. For example, an 8-year-old child would need (10 grams + 8 years) = 18 grams per day.
Recommended fluid needs (USDA Guidelines):
About 4 cups per 50 lbs of body weight (Divide your body weight (lbs) by 50 and multiply that by 4 to get daily fluid needs in cups)
It’s also important to note that there is a difference in the benefits you receive from soluble versus insoluble fibers. Understanding this difference is necessary to successfully fulfilling your body’s needs. For example, if you are having trouble with constipation, you want to incorporate more insoluble fibers into your diet.
|Dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance||Does not dissolve in water and cannot be digested, therefore, increasing movement of waste in the intestines.|
|Promotes slow digestion and steady blood sugar, aids in absorption of nutrients, helps lower cholesterol.||Helps to remove waste and prevent constipation, associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.|
|Food: nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, psyllium husk.||Foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dried figs, corn, rice.|
It is best to slowly increase fiber consumption to allow your body to adapt and make sure you are getting the adequate amounts of water you need to accommodate it. Remember, everything needs a balance—don’t overdo it, even if it’s healthy.