How Not Eating Enough Fiber Can Hurt You
Mom's nagging about eating fruits and veggies was justified. Most Americans aren't getting their fill of fiber, and to the detriment of their health, a new study shows.
The study of 23,000 people in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010, shows that a low-fiber diet is linked to a higher risk of conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular inflammation.
The scientific team also found that most people consumed lower amounts of fiber than is recommended by the Institute of Medicine, as reported by Huffington Post.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women between 19-50 years old get 25 grams of fiber each day. Men in that age should get 38 grams. Women who are older than 50 should get 21 grams of fiber each day and men should get 30.
As you may already know, many Americans aren't getting enough fiber. The study, published recently in the The American Journal of Medicine, however, showed that average dietary fiber intake was only 16.2 grams a day for all age groups and genders.
"Our findings indicate that, among a nationally representative sample of non-pregnant U.S. adults... the consumption of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended total adequate intake levels across survey years," said study researcher Cheryl R. Clark, M.D., Sc.D., of the Center for Community Health and Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
So how can you get more of the good stuff in your diet? We've provided a helpful list below. HealthCentral.com advises that if you don't get enough fiber you should -- and this is important -- increase your intake gradually, as "a sudden increase will result in gastrointestinal (stomach) distress and unpleasant side effects (flatulence and diarrhea)."
Top Foods Containing Fiber
Legumes, nuts and seeds (per cup)
Split peas, cooked - 16.3 grams
Lentils, cooked - 15.6 grams
Black beans, cooked - 15.0 grams
Lima beans, cooked - 13.2 grams
Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked - 10.4 grams
Grains, cereal & pasta (per cup)
Wheat bran - 17 grams
Quinoa - 9 grams
Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked - 6.3 grams
Barley, pearled, cooked - 6.0 grams
Medium oat bran muffin - 5.2 grams
1 cup Prunes - 12 grams
1 Asian pear - 10 grams
1 cup Raspberries - 8.0 grams
1 cup Blackberries - 8.0 grams
1 Pear, with skin - 5.5 grams
1 Apple, with skin - 4.4 grams
Medium Banana or Orange - 3.1 grams
1 medium Artichoke, cooked - 10.3 grams
1 cup cooked Green peas, cooked - 8.8 grams
1 cup Broccoli, boiled - 5.1 grams
1 cup Turnip greens - 5.0 grams
1 cup Brussels sprouts - 4.1 grams