More great news about fiber! As I’ve written about in this blog before it’s a major weight control weapon for a few reasons. First fiber doesn’t get digested or absorbed so the calories don’t count - but it fills you up, meaning you feel fuller on fewer calories. Also, research has shown that for every gram of fiber you eat, you eliminate about 7 calories. That means eating 30 g a day would essentially “cancel out” about 210 calories, enough to result in a 20 lb weight loss in 1 year’s time.
Now according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine eating more dietary fiber may be associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including heart disease as well as infectious and respiratory diseases.
The study analyzed data from over 350,000 men and women over a 9 year period. They gathered information about the subject’s diets at the beginning of the study and they tracked the causes of death for those who passed away during that time. They found that those who consumed more fiber had a significantly lower risk of death from any cause.
The one-fifth of men and women who ate the most fiber (about 30 grams per day for men and 25 grams for women) were 22 percent less likely to die than those who ate the least (13 grams per day for men and 10 grams for women).
The risk of death from heart disease, infectious and respiratory diseases was reduced by as much as 50% or more in those with high fiber intakes specifically from grains.
So how much fiber should you consume daily? Right in the ballpark of what the people who had the most protection took in – somewhere between 25 and 35 grams a day. The average intake in the US is about 15 grams a day.
Here are some foods that don’t even represent a full day’s worth of meals but exceed the minimum recommended intake:
Half cup of cooked oats topped with 1 cup raspberries
Total: 9 g
Half cup cooked lentils
Total: 9 g
1 medium orange with 2 Tbsp almonds
Total: 9 g
The total for just these 5 foods is 27 g, pretty great!
There’s no real down side to boosting your fiber intake. Just be sure to drink plenty of extra water – you’ll need it to help the fiber move through your system (too little can be a recipe for bloating and constipation or a stomach ache).