Only 7% of people in the country are getting their recommended amounts of fiber, according to a study revealed at the Nutrition 2021 conference. Men are especially lacking, at only 5%, getting the right amounts.
Researchers studied data from over 14,600 participants of a nutrition survey, done from 2013 to 2018. Health guidelines say to eat 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories, which means getting to that goal would involve consuming 28 grams if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet.
On average, men in the study consumed only 8.7 grams. The researchers also reviewed other data and found those with greater fiber also had a lower type 2 diabetes risk and cardiovascular disease risk. Previous data has routinely revealed connections between high-fiber intake and a healthier heart, on top of lowered health risks overall.
Although this review did not go into the possible reasons for low fiber consumption, other research shows it could be related to highly processed foods—which usually have very little fiber—compared to plant-based foods. In another study, revealed in the journal mSystems, the reviewers found that increasing fiber intake to recommended amounts using plant foods gave a significant change to people’s gut health.
Lead author on this study, Katrine Whiteson, Ph.D. professor of biology at UC Irvine, says that poor gut health has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, higher amounts of autoimmune diseases, and even lowered vaccine efficacy.
A better, diverse community of helpful bacteria in a person’s gut also helps absorption of nutrients, Whiteson says. That can lead to better and greater benefits for weight loss and your overall health.
There is no shortage of healthy plant-based options for fiber, and this includes:
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Flax seeds
- Cruciferous vegetables
The list keeps going, with whole foods being the focus rather than highly processed foods, which seem to always have fiber stripped out of them.
“Changing your diet to high-fiber options can have huge benefits for your health, and get you nearer to hitting the recommended amounts., Whiteson says.
Author: Steven Sinclaire
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