U.S. adults eat too little fiber, lack of fiber ups heart risk

Lack of fiber correlates with increased heart risk. UPI /Monika Graff UPI /Monika Graff
Lack of fiber correlates with increased heart risk. UPI /Monika Graff UPI /Monika Graff | License Photo

BOSTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- There is a significant association between eating a low-fiber diet and increased heart risks including metabolic syndrome and obesity, U.S. researchers say.

Senior investigator Dr. Cheryl R. Clark of the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues analyzed data from 23,168 subjects in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010.


In the current study, the researchers took a closer look at possible sex, age, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in dietary fiber consumption. They also examined the association between dietary fiber intake and various cardio-metabolic risk factors.

The Institute of Medicine defines recommended fiber intake levels according to age and sex: 38 grams per day for men ages 19-50, 30 grams per day for men ages 50 and older, 25 grams for women ages 19-50 years and 21 grams per day for women age 50 and older.

However, the study published in the December issue of The American Journal of Medicine found the mean dietary fiber intake was only 16.2 grams per day across all demographic groups during the study period.

"Our findings indicate that, among a nationally representative sample of non-pregnant U.S. adults in NHANES 1999-2010, the consumption of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended total adequate intake levels across survey years," Clark said in a statement.


Participants with the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome, inflammation and obesity were in the group with the lowest level of dietary fiber intake, the study said.

Mexican-Americans consumed the higher amounts of dietary fiber and non-Hispanic blacks consumed lower amounts of dietary fiber compared with non-Hispanic whites, Clark said.

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