What’s Your Fiber Fitness Level?

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Fiber Forever

There’s one nutrient you’re almost definitely deficient in.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about fiber – the nutrient that up to 97% of Americans aren’t getting enough of on a daily basis. But it is absolutely one of the most important nutrients.

Our children are only at the starting line of dietary fiber intake. To our national shame, the adult conditions – constipation, overweight/obesity, and type 2 diabetes (markers of inadequate fiber intake) – continue to increase among them.

Sadly, very little research exists addressing either the dietary fiber intake of children or its effects on their health.

If their present health situation continues, very few will reach the finish line at a “healthy, old age”.

Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber

There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber can takes in water and turns into a gel-like substance. If you take a soluble fiber supplement (like psyllium husks), it’s a good idea to drink it right away. Soluble fiber helps slow down the digestion process. Slower digestion means more thoroughly digested food which means you’re able to get more nutrients out of your organic produce. Soluble fiber also feeds the probiotics in your gut.

Insoluble fiber has pretty much one job and one job only – to make your poop bigger and help it move through your colon. Getting enough insoluble fiber means you’ll spend less time on the toilet. The best sources of insoluble fiber are legumes and nuts. Certain vegetables such as cauliflower and green beans also contain a decent amount of insoluble fiber.

Fiber Benefits

I’ve already listed two benefits. Fiber helps feed the microbes in your gut. It also feeds the pathogenic bacteria in your gut. So be sure to flood your gut with probiotics before you get serious about taking fiber. It also helps you poop easier which means you won’t strain as much which means you’re less likely to get hemorrhoids.

Weight Loss

Fiber helps you lose weight. Because it slows down the digestive process you’ll feel fuller longer and won’t resort to the snacks hidden in your desk drawer or your pantry.

Heart Health

Ever wonder why Cheerios can say it’s heart healthy even though it’s not all that great for you? It’s because of its fiber content. People who get enough fiber every day have a 40% lower risk of getting heart disease.

Controls Blood Sugar

Again, thanks to its ability to slow down digestion, it slows down the digestion of sugar. I’m not saying you can go wild and eat an entire cake if you’re diabetic, but it certainly won’t affect your blood sugar levels nearly as much. If you’re not diabetic, it can help reduce your risk of diabetes.

How Much Do I Need?

How much fiber should you get every day? Somewhere between 20 and 30 grams. It’s simple but not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult to do. That’s why 97% of Americans don’t get enough. The only way you’re going to know how much fiber you consume is to start tracking your dietary choices.

There are many smart phone apps to help. If that’s not your tool of choice, you can get a small fiber reference book and go old school. It won’t take you very long, probably less than a week to find out you are at risk.

The good news is there are lots of foods and supplements you can use to help boost your intake. One caveat: be sure to increase the amount of water you’re drinking. You’ll soon find your groove and start having smooth moves.

References:

http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/09/29/where-do-you-get-your-fiber/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8627965
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19335713

 

Leftover Coffee Grounds Unlocking Unused Antioxidant Dietary Fibre

Leftover Coffee Grounds Unlock 6 Tons Of Antioxidant Dietary Fiber
Nutrition News What's Your Fiber Fitness Level Cover Image

Spent Coffee Grounds As Food Ingredient In Bakery Products

A new use for a familiar favorite – coffee. Specifically spent grounds. Nothing like 6 tons of antioxidants and dietary fiber in our food waste streams. Here’s a novel way to extract high value from our food waste and get some much needed help with our chronically low dietary fiber levels.

Highlights

•Spent coffee grounds are natural source of antioxidant dietary fibre.
•Coffee antioxidant dietary fibre is a food ingredient for use at high temperature.
•A food grade ingredient has been obtained from spent coffee grounds.
•Safety of spent coffee grounds can be easily controlled.
•Spent coffee grounds can be used in bakery products and other foodstuffs.

→  Read full article

Eating More Whole Grains Linked With Lower Death Risk

Nutrition News Great Grains Cover

The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy dietary pattern emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods and specifically that at least half of grain consumption should be whole grains. Whole grains provide many nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, which are removed during the refining process.

Eating more whole grains linked with lower risk of death

DALLAS, June 13, 2016 — Eating at least three servings of whole grains every day could lower your risk of death, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Although dietary guidelines around the world have included whole grains as an essential component of healthy eating patterns, people aren’t eating enough, according to the analysis. In the United States average consumption remains below one serving a day, despite the long-time recommendation of three servings a day.

In the first meta-analysis review of studies reporting associations between whole grain consumption and death, researchers noted that for about every serving (16 grams) of whole grains there was a:

  • 7 percent decreased risk in total deaths;
  • 9 percent decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths; and
  • 5 percent decline in cancer-related deaths.

The more whole grains consumed, the lower the death rate. According to researchers, when three servings (48 grams) were consumed daily the rates declined:

  • 20 percent for total deaths;
  • 25 percent for cardiovascular deaths; and
  • 14 percent for cancer-related deaths.

→  Read full article

Full bibliographic information Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies (DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.021101.)

A New Standard For Whole Grain

The most comprehensive definition of whole grain termed to date has been published this week in the journal Food and Nutrition Research. The effort to create the definition, which is intended to assist in the production and labeling of foods rich in whole grains, was born of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, the largest project ever focusing on cereals and health; and was led by a multi-disciplinary team from some of Europe’s leading universities and food research institutes.

Great GrainsHistorically, there’s been no complete, legally endorsed definition of whole grain flour and products,” explains Jan-Willem van der Kamp, corresponding author of the paper and Senior Officer of International Projects at TNO Food and Nutrition. “Most supermarkets today are stocked with foods that originate from many different countries. When you read ‘25% whole grain flour’ on one product label; the same claim on a different label could mean something quite different nutritionally. If use of this definition is adopted broadly, this inconsistency eventually would cease.”

The HEALTHGRAIN definition is the next step in reaching a precise, common understanding of what constitutes whole grain in food products – from breads to pasta to breakfast cereals – regardless of where they originate, adds van der Kamp.

Almost universally, the term whole grain indicates inclusion of all three components of the cereal grain kernel – endosperm (this is the largest part of the grain and provides mostly starch), germ (comprises only a small part of the grain; this is where sprouting begins) and bran (the grain’s protective outer layer; it is rich in dietary fibre). Variances, however, arise around the particular grains considered “whole”, precise combination of the three components once processed, and processing practices which can affect the resulting flour’s nutritional value. The HEALTHGRAIN definition addresses all three of these issues detailing a permitted list of grains and “pseudo grains” (such as quinoa and amaranth) and processing guidelines that take into account current milling practices.

The need for developing a more comprehensive, detailed whole grain definition was identified during the course of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, an initiative intended to increase the use of whole grains and their health protecting constituents in food products for improved nutrition and health benefits. The expansive project has involved everything from research to better understand specific health benefits of whole grains to exploration of new ways to get products high in their healthy compounds onto the market.

The HEALTHGRAIN definition was developed by a committee led by van der Kamp, representatives of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation; DPR Nutrition Ltd., UK; and VTT and University of Eastern Finland; in cooperation with a multidisciplinary group of nutrition scientists, cereal scientists and technologists, plant breeders, flour milling specialists and experts in regulatory affairs from throughout Europe.

The article with the complete HEALTHGRAIN definition, including the permitted grains, can be accessed in the current volume of Food and Nutrition Research (http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/22100).

http://co-action.net/news/HEALTHGRAIN_definition_4Feb.pdf

Dietary Fiber Nibbles Down Stroke Risk

Eating more fiber may modestly reduce the risk of stroke, although details remain uncertain and it might just be a surrogate for other healthy behaviors, a meta-analysis determined.

Great Grains_cover Each additional 7 g of daily dietary fiber intake was associated with a significant 7% lower risk of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke combined, Diane Threapleton, MSc, of the University of Leeds, England, and colleagues reported online in Stroke.

“Our study supports current guidelines to increase fiber consumption,” the researchers concluded, although they noted that too little data were available to narrow down what sources or types of fiber were most protective.

They called a 7-g per day boost in roughage doable, it being the equivalent of an extra serving of beans or two servings of fruit like apples and oranges.

The average American falls short of the daily recommended fiber intake by more than that, though, getting an average of just 13 g for women and 17 g for men compared with the 21 to 25 g and 30 to 38 g, respectively, called for by guidelines.

Although the observational data couldn’t ascribe causality, a role for dietary fiber is plausible, Threapleton’s group noted.

“Soluble types of fiber form gels in the stomach and small intestine, slowing the rate of nutrient absorption and slowing gastric emptying, which increases satiety and influences the overall amount of food eaten, resulting in lower levels of overweight,” they wrote. “Bacterial fermentation of resistant starch and soluble fibers in the large intestine produces short-chain fatty acids which inhibit cholesterol synthesis by the liver, consequently lowering serum levels.”

Prior studies have shown links to stroke risk factors, including hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as insulin resistance.

The literature search turned up eight prospective cohort studies from the U.S., northern Europe, Australia, and Japan reporting on fiber intake in healthy individuals (defined as not recruited based on history of disease or poor health) and incidence of first ever stroke.

Pooled results showed a steadily declining stroke risk with higher total fiber intake, with a relative risk of 0.93 per 7 g per day (95% CI 0.88 to 0.98).

Few individuals had fiber levels above 25 g per day, “so extrapolation of risk at higher intakes should be undertaken with caution,” the researchers warned.

There was some evidence of heterogeneity among the studies, with a difference by study size.

Ischemic stroke appeared less common with higher total dietary fiber intake in two of the four studies that reported on this outcome, while a third showed a similar trend but with wide confidence intervals.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurred less often at higher fiber levels in one of the three studies looking at that outcome.

Soluble fiber showed a nonsignificant trend, with 6% lower relative risk of stroke per 4 g/day increase in daily intake across the studies.

The insoluble fiber results couldn’t be pooled. One of the three studies reporting on this measure suggested a 38% lower stroke risk, while the others indicated no association.

Fiber from grain sources appeared protective in several studies, as did vegetable fiber, but again results couldn’t be pooled.

The reviewers cautioned about the “inherent problem of unadjusted confounding” since fiber may be acting as a surrogate for other healthy behaviors like less smoking and more exercise that also would reduce stroke risk.

“All of the pooled studies did, however, include adjustment for potentially important confounding variables such as age, body mass index, blood pressure or history of hypertension, smoking status, alcohol intake, physical activity, and sex (where applicable), and also a variety of other health and lifestyle variables,” Threapleton and colleagues noted.

The main systematic review was funded by the U.K. Department of Health for England.

Threapleton reported that her PhD studies are sponsored by Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company.

From the American Heart Association:

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