Want to reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome? Then eat your fiber. A new study shows a strong link between those conditions and a low-fiber diet, according to Science World Report on October 19.
"Our findings indicate that, among a national representative sample of non-pregnant U.S. adults, in NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) 1999-2010, the consumption of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended total adequate intake levels across survey results," said Cheryl R. Clark, one of the researchers. "Our study also confirms persistent differences in dietary fiber intake among socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic sub-populations over time."
When the researchers examined cardio-metabolic parameters, they discovered two significant findings:
- Eating more fiber reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- A low-fiber diet boosts the risk of metabolic syndrome, inflammation and obesity
"Low dietary fiber intake from 1999-2010 in the U.S. and associations between higher dietary fiber and a lower prevalence of cardiometabolic risks suggest the need to develop new strategies and policies to increase dietary fiber intake," said Clark. "Additional research is needed to determine effective clinical and population-based strategies for improving fiber intake trends in diverse groups.
For those concerned about weight loss, fiber has been described as the "miracle carbohydrate" by Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D. and other experts. Tanya explains that dietary fiber has zero calories. As a result, high fiber foods are naturally lower in calories. She's authored a book on the topic: "The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear--with Fiber!" (click for additional details).
So what are the best sources of fiber? Bran cereal is an obvious choice. But other foods that are high in fiber include:
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Any cereal with five grams of fiber or more per serving