Health Questions and Answers

Question: Does a high fiber diet affect nutrient absorption?


Not generally. There has been concern that

  1. some dietary fiber contains phytate (inositol hexaphosphate) that may form insoluble compounds with vital minerals
  2. oxalates may interfere with the absorption of iron

But it is unlikely that a nutrient deficiency would occur from a high-fiber diet if an adequate, balanced diet is consumed. The human body adapts to the continued intake of relatively high amounts of dietary fiber. There is a period of compensated lasting 8-10 weeks after starting a high-fiber diet. The body also compensates for the decreased availability of phytate-bound minerals by increasing absorption.

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