Most Americans are ignoring health advice to “eat more fiber.” Just 7% of adults – about 5% of men and 9% of women – are consuming the recommended amount, according to research presented at the annual conference of the American Society for Nutrition.
Fiber is most often thought of as a food component that aids digestion and prevents constipation, but it adds bulk that makes you feel full faster, thus helping control weight.
Fiber also has been shown to help lower risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Current health guidelines recommend 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed daily.
This means about 25 grams of fiber a day for women ages 50 and younger and 38 grams for men. Targets for those older than 50 are 21 grams daily for women and 30 for men. The new research, however, found that women are consuming about 10 grams per 1,000 calories and men just under 9 grams.
The findings were based on five years of data on 14,640 adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an ongoing study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Good sources of dietary fiber include whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Refined or processed foods have less fiber, so fresh foods are recommended. People adding fiber to their diet are generally advised to do so slowly to avoid gas, bloating and cramps while the body adjusts to the change. And be sure to drink plenty of water.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.