In a lot of ways fiber reminds me of what Mark Twain said about the weather. “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” So, here is an excellent rundown on fiber from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
It is recommended that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fiber a day. The average American currently gets about half that amount. According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary fiber is a “nutrient of public health concern,” meaning this low level of intake could actually be detrimental to our health. So, it’s potentially good news that food manufacturers are adding fiber to processed foods. But is that fiber as good for our health as fiber found naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains?
Health Benefits of Fiber. According to a research review co-authored by Nicola McKeown, PhD, a scientist with Tufts’ Nutritional Epidemiology program and an associate professor at the Friedman School, there is reproducible evidence that dietary fiber found naturally in foods has a role in lowering cholesterol, improving glycemic control, and preventing constipation. And fiber may have more health benefits as well. “Research in this field is continually expanding,” says McKeown. “We’ve only begun to consider things like how the gut microbiota utilize different types of dietary fibers to potentially impact health.” Continue reading →
Women who eat more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood—especially lots of fruits and vegetables—may have significantly lower breast cancer risk than those who eat less dietary fiber when young, according to a new large-scale study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study was published online February 1, 2016 in Pediatrics.
Before we go further on the study here is a breakout on fiber from an earlier post:
Fiber is a form of indigestible carbohydrate found mainly in plant foods. Over the years, fiber has been hailed as a potential weapon against colon cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Fiber’s vaunted health benefits were diminished slightly by findings that it doesn’t prevent colon polyps (precursors of colon cancer). But fiber slightly reduces LDL cholesterol, improves insulin resistance, and is linked to a lower rate of heart disease. It is considered one of the most important health attributes of foods.
Fiber slows the digestion of foods and therefore lowers their glycemic load, which likely helps to prevent diabetes. By increasing the bulk of foods and creating a feeling of fullness, fiber may also help you avoid overeating and becoming overweight. There is also some evidence that fiber might reduce the risk for duodenal ulcers, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Continue reading →
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) — an independent nonprofit organization that advises the U.S. government on health issues — recommends 38 grams of fiber a day for men aged 19 to 50 and 30 grams a day for men over 50. The IOM recommends 25 grams a day for women aged 19 to 50 and 21 grams a day for women over 50.
But the average dietary fiber intake among the study participants was only about 16 grams per day, according to the study, which was published in the December issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
Research looked at a decade of data from thousands of U.S. adults.
People who don’t eat enough fiber seem at increased risk for heart problems, and too few Americans are consuming enough fiber, a new study says.
Researchers analyzed data collected from more than 23,000 U.S. adults between 1999 and 2010 and found that low fiber intake was strongly associated with heart disease risk factors such as obesity, inflammation and metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is a group of symptoms that puts people at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Previous studies have found that dietary fiber may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation. Despite those findings, this new study found that Americans don’t have enough fiber in their diets.
Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.
The Institute of Medicine — an independent nonprofit organization that advises the U.S. government on health issues — recommends 38…
Full disclosure: I ate Ho Ho’s and Twinkies as a kid and loved them just like the other kids. But, I was a child and didn’t know any better. I’m not a kid any more and wouldn’t think of eating them now. We didn’t know better back in the 40’s and 50’s. My mom used to give us Wonder Bread slices slathered with butter and topped with sugar as a treat. My dentist safaried in Africa on that treat years later.
Let’s look closely at a package of Ho Ho’s. There are three cupcakes inside. I was amazed to see that the serving size is all three, the whole package. Usually, they break it down to a smaller number to reduce the caloric count. One serving of the Ho Ho’s yields 370 calories, according to Calorie Count.
If you don’t pay much attention to calories, let me explain. I weigh around 150 pounds and can consume 2100 calories a day to maintain that weight. The 370 calories in a serving of Ho Ho’s comes to nearly a quarter of my daily allowance of calories. That takes the place of almost an entire meal.
The three cupcakes contain 17 grams of fat of which 13 grams are saturated fat. That’s a mouthful, or should I say an artery full of fat. The government recommends that we not eat more than 21 grams of saturated fat in a day. This is more than half that amount in a single snack.
There are 30 mg of cholesterol which doesn’t seem too off-putting.
Some 220 mg of Sodium are high, but I have seen worse.
Total carbohydrates come to 54 grams. Okay.
Only one gram of fiber. Most of us are lacking in fiber intake. This snack doesn’t help. Adults need around 40 grams of fiber a day. Ho Ho’s leave us 39 grams short.
Sugars come to 42 grams. A teaspoon of sugar amounts to 4.2 grams, so this is 10 teaspoons of sugar. Gag much?
Lastly, there are two lonely grams of protein. The average adult needs over 50 grams a day. So, again, Ho Ho’s pretty much leave you at the starting gate when it comes to your need for protein, nature’s building blocks.