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Overview of the Health Benefits of Adequate Fiber Intake

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Dietary Fiber in Health and Disease

Part of the book series: Nutrition and Health ((NH))

Abstract

Low fiber intake is a major public health concern. Inadequate fiber intake is associated with increased risk of weight gain and obesity, chronic disease, and premature aging and mortality.

Health effects associated with adequate fiber intake include slowing the eating process and reducing food metabolizable energy for better body weight regulation, stimulating laxation and healthy colonic microbiota including, attenuating elevated blood lipids and blood pressure for cardiometabolic health, and increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering systemic inflammation to reduce diabetes, colorectal cancer and premature aging risk (inflammaging).

Fiber-rich whole (or minimally processed) plant foods and healthy dietary patterns are generally lower in energy density, saturated and trans-fatty acids, sodium, and sugar and higher in essential nutrients and phytochemicals necessary to support optimal health and weight control compared to the usual low fiber Western diets.

High-viscosity, gel-forming fibers consumed in fiber-rich whole plant foods or supplements tend to have similar effects on attenuating blood lipids and postprandial glycemic response and promoting laxation. However, fiber supplements tend to be less effective than fiber-rich foods at supporting weight loss since they typically do not directly displace higher energy-dense foods.

Increased fiber intake is consistently associated with better health, reduced chronic disease risk, and healthy aging even when initiated in mid-life (ages 45–65 years).

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Appendices

Appendix 1. Fifty High-Fiber Whole or Minimally Processed Plant Foods Ranked by Amount of Fiber Per Standard Food Portiona

Food

Standard portion size

Dietary fiber (g)

Calories (kcal)

Energy density (calories/g)

High-fiber bran ready-to-eat cereal

1/3–3/4 cup (30 g)

9.1–14.3

60–80

2.0–2.6

Navy beans, cooked

1/2 cup cooked (90 g)

9.6

127

1.4

Small white beans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

9.3

127

1.4

Shredded wheat ready-to-eat cereal

1–1 1/4 cup (50–60 g)

5.0–9.0

155–220

3.2–3.7

Black bean soup, canned

1/2 cup (130 g)

8.8

117

0.9

French beans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

8.3

114

1.3

Split peas, cooked

1/2 cup (100 g)

8.2

114

1.2

Chickpeas (garbanzo) beans, canned

1/2 cup (120 g)

8.1

176

1.4

Lentils, cooked

1/2 cup (100 g)

7.8

115

1.2

Pinto beans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

7.7

122

1.4

Black beans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

7.5

114

1.3

Artichoke, global or French, cooked

1/2 cup (84 g)

7.2

45

0.5

Lima beans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

6.6

108

1.2

White beans, canned

1/2 cup (130 g)

6.3

149

1.1

Wheat bran flakes ready-to-eat cereal

3/4 cup (30 g)

4.9–5.5

90–98

3.1–3.3

Pear with skin

1 medium (180 g)

5.5

100

0.6

Pumpkin seeds, whole, roasted

1 ounce (about 28 g)

5.3

126

4.5

Baked beans, canned, plain

1/2 cup (125 g)

5.2

120

0.9

Soybeans, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

5.2

150

1.7

Plain rye wafer crackers

2 wafers (22 g)

5.0

73

3.3

Avocado, Hass

1/2 fruit (68 g)

4.6

114

1.7

Apple, with skin

1 medium (180 g)

4.4

95

0.5

Green peas, cooked (fresh, frozen, canned)

1/2 cup (80 g)

3.5–4.4

59–67

0.7–0.8

Refried beans, canned

1/2 cup (120 g)

4.4

107

0.9

Mixed vegetables, cooked from frozen

1/2 cup (45 g)

4.0

59

1.3

Raspberries

1/2 cup (65 g)

3.8

32

0.5

Blackberries

1/2 cup (65 g)

3.8

31

0.4

Collards, cooked

1/2 cup (95 g)

3.8

32

0.3

Soybeans, green, cooked

1/2 cup (75 g)

3.8

127

1.4

Prunes, pitted, stewed

1/2 cup (125 g)

3.8

133

1.1

Sweet potato, baked

1 medium (114 g)

3.8

103

0.9

Multigrain bread

2 slices regular (52 g)

3.8

140

2.7

Figs, dried

1/4 cup (about 38 g)

3.7

93

2.5

Potato baked, with skin

1 medium (173 g)

3.6

163

0.9

Popcorn, air-popped

3 cups (24 g)

3.5

93

3.9

Almonds

1 ounce (about 28 g)

3.5

164

5.8

Whole wheat spaghetti, cooked

1/2 cup (70 g)

3.2

87

1.2

Sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted

1 ounce (about 28 g)

3.1

165

5.8

Orange

1 medium (130 g)

3.1

69

0.5

Banana

1 medium (118 g)

3.1

105

0.9

Oat bran muffin

1 small (66 g)

3.0

178

2.7

Vegetable soup

1 cup (245 g)

2.9

91

0.4

Dates

1/4 cup (about 38 g)

2.9

104

2.8

Pistachios, dry roasted

1 ounce (about 28 g)

2.8

161

5.7

Hazelnuts or filberts

1 ounce (about 28 g)

2.7

178

6.3

Peanuts, oil roasted

1 ounce (about 28 g)

2.7

170

6.0

Quinoa, cooked

1/2 cup (90 g)

2.7

92

1.0

Broccoli, cooked

1/2 cup (78 g)

2.6

27

0.3

Potato baked, without skin

1 medium (145 g)

2.3

145

1.0

Baby spinach leaves

3 ounces (90 g)

2.1

20

0.2

Blueberries

1/2 cup (74 g)

1.8

42

0.6

Carrot, raw or cooked

1 medium (60 g)

1.7

25

0.4

aDietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Scientific Report of the 2010 Advisory Guidelines Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture. Part B. Section 2: Total Diet. 2010; Table B2.4

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Scientific Report. Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture. Part D, Chapter 1: Food and nutrient intakes, and health: Current status and trends. 2015;97–8. Table D1.8

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. http://www.ars.usda.gov./nutrientdata. Accessed 17 February 2015

Dahl WJ, Stewart ML. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: health implications of dietary fiber. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115:1861–70

Appendix 2. Estimated Range of Energy, Fiber, Nutrients, and Phytochemicals Composition of Whole or Minimally Processed Foods/100 g Edible Portiona,b

Components

Whole grains

Fresh fruit

Dried fruit

Vegetables

Legumes

Nuts/seeds

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, rolls, and crackers

Apples, pears, bananas, grapes, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, and avocados

Dates, dried figs, apricots, cranberries, raisins, and prunes

Potatoes, spinach, carrots, peppers, lettuce, green beans, cabbage, onions, cucumber, cauliflower, mushrooms, and broccoli

Lentils, chickpeas, split peas, black beans, pinto beans, and soy beans

Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed

Energy (kcal)

110–350

30–170

240–310

10–115

85–170

520–700

Protein (g)

2.5–16

0.5–2.0

0.1–3.4

0.2–5.0

5.0–17

7.8–24

Available carbohydrate (g)

23–77

1.0–25

64–82

0.2–25

10–27

12–33

Fiber (g)

3.5–18

2.0–7.0

5.7–10

1.2–9.5

5.0–11

3.0–27

Total fat (g)

0.9–6.5

0.0–15

0.4–1.4

0.2–1.5

0.2–9.0

46–76

SFAa (g)

0.2–1.0

0.0–2.1

0.0

0.0–0.1

0.1–1.3

4.0–12

MUFAa (g)

0.2–2.0

0.0–9.8

0.0–0.2

0.1–1.0

0.1–2.0

9.0–60

PUFAa (g)

0.3–2.5

0.0–1.8

0.0–0.7

0.0.0.4

0.1–5.0

1.5–47

Folate (ug)

4.0–44

<5.0–61

2–20

8.0–160

50–210

10–230

Tocopherols (mg)

0.1–3.0

0.1–1.0

0.1–4.5

0.0–1.7

0.0–1.0

1.0–35

Potassium (mg)

40–720

60–500

40–1160

100–680

200–520

360–1050

Calcium (mg)

7.0–50

3.0–25

10–160

5.0–200

20–100

20–265

Magnesium (mg)

40–160

3.0–30

5.0–70

3.0–80

40–90

120–400

Phytosterols (mg)

30–90

1.0–83

N/A

1.0–54

110–120

70–215

Polyphenols (mg)

70–100

50–800

N/A

24–1250

120–6500

130–1820

Carotenoids (ug)

N/A

25–6600

0.6–2160

10–20,000

50–600

0.0–1200

Ros E, Hu FB. Consumption of plant seeds and cardiovascular health epidemiological and clinical trial evidence. Circulation. 2013;128: 553–565

USDA. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011–2012, individuals 2 years and over (excluding breast-fed children). Available: www.ars.usda.gov/nea/bhnrc/fsrg

Rodriguez-Casado A. The health potential of fruits and vegetables phytochemicals: notable examples. Crit Rev. Food Sci Nutr. 2016; 56(7):1097–1107

Rebello CJ, Greenway FL, Finley JW. A review of the nutritional value of legumes and their effects on obesity and its related co-morbidities. Obes Rev. 2014;15: 392–407

Gebhardt SE, Thomas RG. Nutritive Value of Foods. 2002; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Home and Garden Bulletin 72

Holden JM, Eldridge AL, Beecher GR, et al. Carotenoid content of U.S. foods: an update of the database. J Food Comp An. 1999; 12:169–196

Lu Q-Y, Zhang Y, Wang Y, et al. California Hass avocado: profiling of carotenoids, tocopherol, fatty acid, and fat content during maturation and from different growing areas. J Agric Food Chem. 2009; 57(21):10,408–10413

Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, et al. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004; 52: 4026–4037

aSFA (saturated fat), MUFA (monounsaturated fat), and PUFA (polyunsaturated fat)

bU.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. http://www.ars. usda.gov./nutrientdata. Accessed 17 February 2015

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Dreher, M.L. (2018). Overview of the Health Benefits of Adequate Fiber Intake. In: Dietary Fiber in Health and Disease. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50557-2_2

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