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Nearly all Americans fail to eat enough of this actual superfood

Nearly all Americans fail to eat enough of this actual superfood

When we fret about the deterioration of the American diet, we tend to focus on the excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and calories we're now eating. What we don't talk about: an important ingredient that's gone missing as we've been filling our plates with more chicken and cheese. Fiber.

https://www.vox.com/2019/3/20/18214505/fiber-diet-weight-loss

vox.com

Fiber gap

Fiber gap

Only 5 percent of people in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily target of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That amounts to a population-wide deficiency.

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Benefits of a fiber-rich diet

Benefits of a fiber-rich diet

Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, even some cancers. Fiber slows the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation.

Fiber doesn’t just help us poop better — it also nourishes our gut microbiome.

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Processed foods and fiber

Processed foods and fiber

Instead of munching on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, more than half of the calories Americans consume come from ultra-processed foods. On any given day, nearly 40 percent of Americans eat fast food. These prepared and processed meals tend to be low in fiber, or even fiber free. 

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Types of fiber

Types of fiber

Fiber is a group of different kinds of plant-based carbohydrates that affect our gastrointestinal tract in myriad ways:

  • fiber can be soluble (meaning it dissolves in water);
  •  viscose (gel-forming);
  • fermentable (bacteria can metabolize it).

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Closing the fiber gap

Closing the fiber gap

Consider snacking on whole fruits, replacing white bread with whole-grain alternatives, eating potatoes with the skins on, and tossing berries, nuts, and seeds on your yogurt, cereals, or salads, Lots of small changes can add up. If you like smoothies, throw your fruits, veggies, and nuts in a blender. Even baking does not destroy most fibers.

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