Warum Ballaststoffe mehr als nur Verdauungshelfer sind und wie die richtige Balance gefunden wird

Why fiber is more than just a digestive aid and how to find the right balance

Often dismissed as a simple digestive aid, fiber plays a much larger role in human health than is commonly realized. Its importance extends beyond supporting healthy digestion to promoting a robust microbiome.

In this article, we explore the many benefits of fiber and examine how they differ in their functions and effects on health. We also look at the downsides of consuming too much fiber and explain why it's the amount that makes the poison.

Basics of fiber

Dietary fiber is plant matter that cannot be digested in the human intestine. It is divided into two main types: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance that can help regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, absorbs water and increases the volume of stool, which promotes bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Beyond digestion

While the role of fiber in promoting regular digestion is well documented, its other health benefits are equally significant:

  1. Regulation of blood sugar levels:
    Soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar, resulting in improved blood sugar control. This is especially important for the prevention and management of diabetes.
  1. Heart health :
    Numerous studies have shown that high fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Fiber can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure.
  1. Weight management :
    Fiber increases the feeling of satiety and can therefore help control body weight. People who consume plenty of fiber often have a lower energy density and consume fewer calories.
  1. Cancer prevention :
    Some studies suggest that a high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon cancer.

Influence on the microbiome

The microbiome, the totality of all microorganisms that populate the human intestine, is also significantly influenced by fiber. Fiber serves as a prebiotic, i.e. a food source for beneficial intestinal bacteria. These bacteria ferment the fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids that are essential for intestinal health. These fatty acids can have an anti-inflammatory effect and promote the health of the intestinal mucosa.

The differences in the effect

Although all fibers provide important health benefits, their specific health effects depend on their solubility and fermentability. Soluble fiber tends to have a greater impact on cholesterol and blood sugar, while insoluble fiber is particularly effective at supporting gut health and stool regulation.

The downsides of too much fiber intake

Fiber is known for its many health benefits, but excessive intake can also have unwanted side effects. It is important to find a balance to reap the benefits of fiber without suffering the potential risks.

Possible disadvantages of an overdose of fiber

  1. Digestive problems:
    Although fiber generally aids digestion, excessive intake, especially when accompanied by inadequate fluid intake, can lead to constipation. Too much fiber can also cause gas, cramps and a bloated feeling.
  1. Nutrient deficiency:
    High amounts of fiber can interfere with the absorption of important minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. Fiber binds these minerals in the intestines, meaning they may not be fully absorbed by the body.
  1. Intestinal irritation:
    In people with existing bowel problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, high fiber intake may worsen symptoms, especially when insoluble fiber is consumed in large amounts.
  1. Too fast increase:
    A sudden and significant increase in fiber intake can overwhelm the body and cause digestive discomfort. It is important to increase fiber intake gradually while increasing fluid intake to give the body time to adjust.

Preventive measures and recommendations

To avoid the negative consequences of excessive fiber intake, some guidelines should be followed:

  1. Gradual increase:
    Increase your fiber intake slowly over several weeks to help your digestive system adjust.
  1. Adequate fluid intake:
    Drink plenty of water and other fluids to move fiber through your digestive tract and avoid constipation.
  1. Balanced nutrition:
    Make sure your diet contains a balanced mix of soluble and insoluble fiber and that you also consume adequate proteins, fats and micronutrients.
  1. Expert advice:
    If you already have digestive problems or are unsure about how best to structure your diet, seek the advice of a professional.


Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, but as with many foods, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. By following recommendations to gradually increase intake and ensuring adequate fluid intake, most people can enjoy the benefits of fiber without fear of negative effects.

Fiber is much more than just a means of promoting good digestion. Its numerous health benefits make it an essential part of a balanced diet.

A diet rich in fiber not only supports the microbiome and digestion, but also helps prevent chronic diseases and improves overall well-being.

Microbiome Porridge by Be The Change


  1. Medicross: The key to a healthy life https://www.medicross.com
  2. PubMed: The Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33096647/
  3. Eufic: What are fibers and are they useful? https://www.eufic.org
  4. Stetsgesund: What are fibers? Benefits + tips! https://www.stetsgesund.com
  5. Everyday Health: Essential for improving your health https://www.alltagsgesundhait.com
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