A study is conducted in an attempt to find out the ideal quantity of fiber foods and fruits individual should consume to reduce chronic illness and associated premature death. This meta-analysis study lasted for 40 years.
Public health organizations along with researchers have hailed the numerous benefits of fiber consumption. But, is there a given amount of fiber that we should consume? The answer to this question is published in the journal “Lancet” after the World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a new study on that.
The objective of the research is to develop guidelines on dietary fiber consumption and reveal which carbs are best for weight management and noncommunicable diseases prevention. Chronic diseases are those that progress gradually over a period of time and last longer. WHO has listed about four of them to include: chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Those involved in the study are; Professor Jim Mann, of the University of Otago, in New Zealand, he carried out the role of a corresponding author. He is the research fellow at Otago’s Dunedin School of Medicine and the first author of the paper.
According to Prof. Mann, previews reviews on meta-analyses examined only the quality of carb and a few numbers of diseases. Thus, no food has been established for a range of conditions. To ascertain which food is best, the team is motivated to carry out the research.
Result on the Research on Fiber Foods and Fruits
In the study, a meta-analysis of observational study and a clinical trial was carried out and they recommended 25 – 29 grams of fiber intake per day. Reynolds and his team examined the data in 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials among 4,600 individuals over a 40 years period. They considered the incidence of chronic disease and the associated premature death.
Fiber Foods and Fruits and Diseases
Some of the incidences examined are esophageal cancer, colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, esophageal cancer, breast cancer among others.
Ultimately, the researchers discovered that individuals who consume the most fiber in their meal have about 15 – 30 percent possibility of dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases. While those who eat less fiber in their meals have even a higher possibility.
Fiber-rich food is linked with 16 to 24 percent reduced coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer incidences. However, consuming even more quantity of fiber like 29 grams per day may have more benefits.
The study further revealed that the recommended daily fiber intake for utmost health benefit is 25 – 29 grams. But it has been found that adult in the US consumes a fewer quantity of about 15 grams on the average as daily intake.
Are There Risk Associated With Fiber Intake?
Although no adverse effect has been linked with fiber intake, researchers, however, caution against too much fiber consumption for people having insufficient iron or minerals in the body. Even whole grain will lead to further iron depletion; researchers said.
The clinical trial part of the study found that fiber foods and fruits intake strongly correlates with reduced cholesterol level and moderate body weight.
Why is Fiber Foods and Fruits Intake so Important?
The health benefits of fiber is backed with 100 years of research, conducted into its effect on the metabolic process, chemistry, physical properties and it’s physiological impact – Prof.Mamm
Furthermore, Prof. Mann added that food reach in fiber that requires chewing promotes easy satisfaction and keep body weight on the check. Again, they can influence lipid and glucose levels favorably.
The resident bacteria responsible for breaking down the fiber foods and fruits in the large bowel also protects against colorectal cancer.
This study has convincing evidence and guidelines on dietary fiber consumption; such as whole grain consumption for disease and mortality prevention.
Some fiber-rich foods are whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and pulses.
Soluble and Insoluble Sources of Fiber
Soluble fibers dissolves in fluid once it enters the intestines and down to the stomach. It forms a gel-like substance and when bacteria in the large intestine digest it, it releases gases and a few calories in the body. It also inhibits the digestion of other nutrients such as carbs thereby promoting weight loss.
In the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in liquid. It remains the same as it journeys down the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber does not contain fat because it does not digest in the body.
Whole grain and cereals are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Health Benefits of Fiber Foods and Fruits: Soluble Fiber.
The soluble gel has a thick gel that prevents the fat from being neither digested nor absorbed. Again, they reduce food cravings by lowering the rate of food digestion. Some individuals remain full longer after consuming a fiber-rich meal.
Some dietary cholesterol is not allowed to breakdown or digest. Soluble fiber, when consumed over time, reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood.
– It stabilizes the glucose level in the body.
Soluble fiber foods and fruits prevents fat from being absorbed by the body, lowers digestion rate of other nutrients and reduces cholesterol level. Therefore, it will be appropriate if we say that consuming meals rich in soluble fiber will reduce any sharp spike in blood sugar level since it frustrates the absorption of carbs in the body.
-Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease:
Regular consumption of soluble fiber foods and fruits reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and circulatory conditions. Since soluble fiber has the ability to control cholesterol levels is a good recipe for the prevention of heart diseases.
-Feeding healthy gut bacteria:
Gut bacteria feed on fermented soluble fiber-rich meals in the colon. They help promote the longevity of the gut healthy bacteria.
Health Benefits of Fiber: Insoluble Fiber.
Insoluble fiber is an indigestible fiber. They stay on the gastrointestinal tract, sticking to other byproducts of digestion ready to form waste. Intake of insoluble fiber enhances the metabolic process and prevent any blockage from the gastrointestinal tract. Again they reduce bowel movement and speeds up the rate of waste formation.
-Lowering the risk of diverticular disease:
Insoluble-fiber lowers the risk of small folds and hemorrhoids development in the colon. Since they can prevent constipation and intestinal blockages, they will also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
-Feeling full longer after meals:
Foods and Fruits that are insoluble fiber fills up space in the stomach and intestines. They give the sensation of feeling full and best for people who want to control their weight.
-Lower disease risk:
Fiber is known for its rich health benefits. Intake of fiber-rich food discourages obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, among others.
Foods and Fruits that are considered to have high fiber content must contain at least 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake. While foods that contain a mere 5% or fewer contents of fiber are considered as poor sources of dietary fiber – FDA.
Peas, beans, and whole grains are fiber-rich foods; however, some vegetables also contain reasonable quantities of fiber too.
Sources of Dietary Fiber Foods and Fruits:
– Cooked navy beans – 1/2 cup equals to 9.5 grams of fiber.
– Half a cup of 100% ready to eat bran contains 8.8 grams fiber.
– 1/2 cup of canned kidney beans – 8.2 grams
– 1/2 cup of cooked split peas – 8.1 grams
– Cooked lentils – 1/2 cup of cooked lentils – 7.8 grams
-1/2 cup of cooked pinto or black beans contains 7.8/7.5 g.
– 1 whole cooked artichoke – contains 6.5 g.
– Cooked white beans/chickpeas/great northern beans – 1/2 cup contains 6.3-6.2 g.
– 1/2 cup cooked Mature soybeans – 5.2 grams
– 2 Plain rye wafers or crackers contain 5.0 grams.
– 1 medium potato baked with the peel contains 4.8 g.
-1 moderate raw pear contains about 4.3 – 4.4 grams of fiber
-1/2 cup of cooked green peas contains 4.4 g.
– 1 muffin or 2 slices of whole wheat English contains 4.4 g.
– Half cup of cooked bulgur wheat contains 4.1 grams fiber.
– 1/2 cup of Raw raspberries contains 4.0 g.
– 1 medium boiled sweet potato without the peel – 3.9 grams
– 1 medium size potato baked with the peel contains 3.8 grams of fiber.
– 1/2 cup of stewed prunes contains 3.8 g. – 1/2 cup of dried dates contains 3.7 – 3.8 grams
– 1/2 cup of raw oat bran is equally to 3.6 grams.
-1/2 cup of canned pumpkin contains 3.6 grams.
-1/2 cup of cooked spinach contains 3.5 grams.
– 1 ounce of Shredded ready-to-eat wheat cereals contains 2.8 – 3.4 g.
– 1 oz.raw almond contains 3.3 g.
– 1 medium apple with the skin includes 3.3 g.
– 1/2 cup – Cooked whole wheat spaghetti contains 3.1 g.
– Raw banana or orange – 1 fruit – 3.1 grams
A diet rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber is a healthful diet.
Some other sources of soluble fiber are – barley, citrus fruits, apple, peas, and oats.
Good sources of insoluble fiber include – whole wheat, green beans, cauliflowers, and nuts.
There are also fiber supplements but these supplements lack the additional vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B and iron found in natural sources of fiber. Again, fiber supplements may not fully be absorbed by the body like fiber-rich foods.
If a product you want to purchase is marked as having a high amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in grams for each serving, it should be written under the dietary fiber heading.
Food that is considered rich in fiber must at least contain 20% of the recommended daily intake. While the food that records about 5% of the daily value is considered as having poor fiber value – FDA. A good number of both soluble and insoluble fiber-rich food have been listed in this article.
Too Much Fiber:
In a study conducted in 2012, the effect of changing the fiber foods and fruits intake of 63 people was tested. These individuals were experiencing bloating, diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
Individuals who limited their fiber intake experienced less abdominal pain, frequent bowel movement and less bloating compared to those who maintained the same quantity of intake; the study revealed.
For those treated for irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), more dietary fiber intake can help control constipation.
However, increasing fiber intake can limit the number of nutrients the body can absorb, thereby causing nutrient deficiencies. This is because the minerals, calcium, magnesium, and other essential nutrients bind with fiber in the body.
On more severe cases, it is recommended that such individual cut down the fiber intake at least to 10 grams per day. Such a prescription is often for those with serious digestive conditions until their situation is controlled.
Again, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine said that consuming a low fiber diet can meet daily nutritional needs.
Examples of a Low Fiber Diet:
-An individual who consumed bread with grain products has a fiber intake of fewer than 2 grams.
-Cooked fruits, vegetables, and meats.
-Some hidden sources of fiber are products that contain – Inulin, Soy hulls, Maltodextrin, Oat Fiber, and Guar gum.
Consuming more than 70 grams of fiber in a day might cause discomfort. Some individuals feel discomfort after eating 40 grams of fiber in a day.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the recommended dietary fiber intake for the following individuals are as follows:
– For pregnant or lactating women, 28 grams per day.
– Individuals over age 50, 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.
– Adult women, 25 grams.
– Adult men, 38 grams.
Symptoms of Excess Fiber Intake:
– Excess weight gain or loss.
– Stomach pain.
– Gas formation.
– Loss of appetite.
How to Manage Too Much Fiber Intake:
Too much fiber intake encourages dehydration and discomfort. However, a person who has consumed too much will allow some time for the body to eliminate the excess fiber.
It is recommended that such individual take more fluid and engage in regular exercise.
Once the symptoms are over, it is necessary to reintroduce fiber foods and fruits in a moderate quantity because fiber forms an essential part of a human’s diet.
Aim for 8 glasses of fluid every day; including fluids from fruits and vegetables. But an individual should limit intake of drinks with added sugar.
Lack of fiber in the body has more health dangers compared to excess fiber intake. Thus, it is necessary to achieve the recommended intake for each individual.