Did you see the headlines today? Americans are not consuming enough fiber!… Hmmm, this really isn’t news. We’ve known for years that, as a nation, we don’t consume enough whole grains, fresh fruits, or vegetables. A recent study published in the December issue of The American Journal of Medicine (AMJ), confirms that this lack of fiber is at least partly responsible for an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
How much fiber do we need?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults aged 19-50 years consume 25 grams of fiber per day (women) to 38 grams of fiber day (men). That may sound like a lot, but it’s surprisingly easy to meet the recommendations if you put in a little effort. It will likely require a few simple substitutions, and perhaps a couple of healthy additions.
For instance, instead of eating a highly processed breakfast cereal first thing in the morning, choose one made with whole grains (5 grams of fiber per cup). Instead of eating a sandwich for lunch made with bread from refined flour, choose bread made with whole grains (5 grams of fiber per two slices). Instead of eating refined pasta for dinner, choose whole grain pasta (5 grams of fiber per cup). And don’t forget to enjoy fruits and vegetables throughout the day as snacks –a cup of fresh fruit or vegetables is worth another 5 grams of fiber, as is half a cup of beans.
You can see that, if you focus on WHOLE GRAINS, it’s quite possible to meet the recommendations for daily fiber intake. Unfortunately, according to the recent AMJ study, Americans consume an average of just 16 grams per day! That’s roughly half of the recommendation.
Food for thought
Why do you think that most Americans do not consume enough fiber? How much fiber do you consume on a daily basis? What sorts of substitutions or additions to your diet could you make to consume more fiber?
“Dietary Fiber Intake and Cardiometabolic Risks Among US Adults, NHANES 1999-2010” by Kya N. Grooms, BA; Mark J. Ommerborn, MPH; Do Quyen Pham, MPH; Luc Djousse, MD, ScD, MPH; Cheryl R. Clark, MD, ScD. The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 126, Issue 12, December 2013.