Yes, it's true that you need 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, though Americans tend to consume just 12 to 17 grams a day. A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999 followed nearly 3,000 adults for 10 years to investigate the importance of a high-fiber diet. The study showed that people with the highest fiber intake had better blood sugar control, cholesterol profiles, and blood pressure numbers, as well as less weight gain, than those who ate the least amount of fiber.
You also need both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber can improve your cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in your bloodstream. It also normalizes blood sugar by delaying the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, which has a positive effect on bowel function.
If you're following the South Beach Diet, it's not necessary to count grams of fiber or worry about whether you're meeting your fiber needs. The South Beach Diet has always been a fiber-rich plan, designed to encourage eating plenty of high-fiber foods, such as legumes, whole grains, and whole fruits and vegetables — all of which contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Finally, if you're increasing your fiber intake, do so gradually to minimize bloating.