Most American children and adults are choosing breakfast foods like pop tarts over whole-grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal and are not getting their daily recommended amount of fiber, a recent study reveals.
About 39 percent of youth and 42 percent of adults consume no whole grains at all in their daily diets, and only 3 percent of youths and 8 percent of adults eat at least the recommended 3 servings per day, according to 2009-2010 University of Minnesota research.
The few Americans who did follow United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendation of at least 3 servings of whole grains, consumed the most of this beneficial nutrient. The study, funded by General Mills, surveyed about 9,042 Americans, ages 2 and up.
At the Mayo Clinic’s website, fiber is listed as an important asset to healthy living. It can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar, the latter being important in weight loss. By absorbing sugar more slowly than other carbohydrates, fiber can prevent the sugar levels from dropping too fast, a factor that may make you feel hungry too soon. It’s also important in normalizing bowel movements and maintaining healthy bowels.
Leader of the university study Marla Reicks, food science and nutrition professor at the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, tells Reuters that “most people do not consume whole grains in amounts that can be most beneficial, also many people, even health professionals, are confused about the relationship between whole grain and fiber.”
The USDA recommends that half of all fiber intake come from whole grains. Examples of whole grains include buckwheat, bulgur, corn (including popcorn), millet, oats, quinoa, rice (brown not white), rye or spelt. Some specialty-made cereals and multigrain bread may also have a high serving of whole grains. Fruits, vegetables, and beans have varying amounts of fiber as well.
Exact fiber intake levels vary per age and weight, but younger children need between 19 to 25 grams a day, older teens about 21 to 38 grams, while the average adult may need 25 to 30 grams each day.
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at www.SCRhyne.com