Therapeutic Benefits and Dietary Restrictions of Fiber Intake: A State of the Art Review

Nutrients. 2022 Jun 26;14(13):2641. doi: 10.3390/nu14132641.


Throughout history, malnutrition and deficiency diseases have been a problem for our planet's population. A balanced diet significantly influences everyone's health, and fiber intake appears to play a more important role than previously thought. The natural dietary fibers are a category of carbohydrates in the constitution of plants that are not completely digested in the human intestine. High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, have consistently been highly beneficial to health and effectively reduced the risk of disease. Although the mode of action of dietary fiber in the consumer body is not fully understood, nutritionists and health professionals unanimously recognize the therapeutic benefits. This paper presents the fiber consumption in different countries, the metabolism of fiber and the range of health benefits associated with fiber intake. In addition, the influence of fiber intake on the intestinal microbiome, metabolic diseases (obesity and diabetes), neurological aspects, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancer prevention are discussed. Finally, dietary restrictions and excess fiber are addressed, which can cause episodes of diarrhea and dehydration and increase the likelihood of bloating and flatulence or even bowel obstruction. However, extensive studies are needed regarding the composition and required amount of fiber in relation to the metabolism of saprotrophic microorganisms from the enteral level and the benefits of the various pathologies with which they can be correlated.

Keywords: dietary fiber; dietary fiber characterisation; dyslipidaemia; health effects; metabolic disorders; metabolic syndrome; short-chain fatty acids; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fiber* / metabolism
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Vegetables* / metabolism
  • Whole Grains


  • Dietary Fiber

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.