It’s most common to look for low-carb and high protein when on the hunt for the right meal replacement shake. But did you know that there’s another important nutrient to look out for?
That’s fiber! Over 90% of women and 97% of men don’t get nearly enough fiber in their day-to-day diet. (1) Which makes your meal replacement shake or protein powder the perfect opportunity to load up on this health-boosting carbohydrate.
The problem is that not all meal replacement shakes are created equal, and many contain little to no fiber at all. But how much fiber do you need and why is it so important?
Let’s dive in to find out! We’ll cover all you need to know about fiber, how much you need, and what to look for when choosing a healthy meal replacement shake.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that supports healthy metabolism, heart health, weight management, and more. And you might be wondering, how can a nutrient that the body can’t digest have so many health benefits? (2)
Well, as fiber passes through your body it helps stimulate and aid in digestion. Fiber acts as food for the healthy bacteria in your gut and helps move things along in your digestive tract.
This supports healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. It also keeps you feeling full for longer and helps regulate or lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. (3)
Health Benefits of Fiber
It certainly does a lot for a non-digestible nutrient! Here is a research-backed list of some of fiber’s biggest health benefits:
- Reduces the risk of inflammation and related diseases by helping to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels and helping to improve insulin sensitivity (2,4,5,6,7)
- Promotes better digestion and a healthier stool bulk, helping to relieve or prevent constipation (2)
- Improves gastrointestinal or gut health (aka maintenance of good gut bacteria!) which leads to better immune function and energy balance in the body (4,6)
- Helps regulate food intake and promotes a healthier diet by increasing feelings of fullness (4)
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
There are two types of fiber, and it’s important to get both in your diet: (5)
- Soluble fiber: This type dissolves in water and can help lower glucose levels as well as blood cholesterol. It can also help improve blood sugar levels. It’s found in foods like nuts, beans, fruit, and oatmeal.
- Insoluble fiber: This type doesn’t dissolve in water, and moves food through your digestive system. It helps things run smoothly and prevents constipation or other bowel disorders. It’s found in foods like wheat, whole grains, brown rice, and some vegetables.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
So, fiber is pretty important for your health and weight loss goals! But how much do you need to stay healthy?
Here’s the recommended daily intake of fiber for adults according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- Women: 22-28 grams
- Men: 28-34 grams
It’s recommended that adults get at least 28g of fiber each day. Yet many adults get less than half of that amount! Most average around 15 to 16 grams per day, which is not enough to maintain a healthy diet. (4,8)
And that’s where a healthy meal replacement shake can come in handy! But more on that later…
Risks of a Low-Fiber Diet
So what happens if you’re not meeting your recommended daily dose of dietary fiber? A low fiber diet can contribute to several potential health concerns, including: (6,9)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (and other gastrointestinal conditions!)
- Weight gain
- Low blood sugar levels
And because fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol, a diet low in fiber is also a risk factor for serious health conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
High Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet
The reason why many adults aren’t getting enough fiber is that we’re not eating enough fruits and veggies! These are the major go-to sources of fiber, plus they’re packed with healthy phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. (5)
But it’s not just fruits and veggies! There are other great sources of fiber to add to your diet. Here are some of the best high-fiber foods: (3)
- Vegetables (artichoke, peas, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, lima beans)
- Fruits (apples, berries, pears, grapefruit, avocado)
- Beans and legumes (navy beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- Whole grains (brown rice, oats, popcorn, whole wheat bread, bran)
- Nuts & seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds)
- High-fiber meal replacement shakes!
Head to our blog The Best High Fiber Foods You Need In Your Diet to check out more high-fiber food options!
High-Fiber Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes are not only a great way to eat healthy on-the-go, but they’re also an easy and convenient way to help you reach your daily fiber goals. When looking for a high-quality meal replacement shake, aim for 5g or more of dietary fiber.
Some great high-fiber meal replacement shake options from our top-rated shakes include:
- 310 Shake (our #1 rated diet shake!)
- Vega One
- Keto Chow
- Atkins Shake
- Total Lean GNC
- CTRL Shake
Ready to upgrade your meal replacement shake? Head to our reviews of some of the top-rated diet shakes to find the right meal replacement shake to meet your needs (and get your daily dose of health-boosting fiber!).