How Much Fiber Should A Woman Eat – When we worry about the decline of America’s diet, we tend to focus on the excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and calories we currently eat.
What we’re not talking about: An important ingredient that disappeared as we filled our plates with more chicken and cheese.
How Much Fiber Should A Woman Eat
Fibers. Only 5 percent of the US population meets the Institute of Medicine’s daily goal of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. This shows a lack of people in general – what nutrition is called “fiber gap.”
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“People are so busy avoiding carbohydrates, they forget that these foods provide important nutrients to their diet,” says nutritionist Julie Jones of the University of St. Catherine.
Fiber is the closest thing we have to a true superfood – or super-nutrient, because it’s part of so many different foods. A high-fiber diet is associated with better gut health and a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. That’s because fiber is incredibly beneficial in many ways: it slows the absorption of glucose—which measures blood sugar—and lowers cholesterol and inflammation.
These benefits increase as people eat more fiber. In a recent Lancet review of 185 studies and 58 clinical trials, researchers found that if 1,000 people switched from a low-fiber diet (less than 15 grams per day) to a high-fiber diet (25 to 29 grams per day), they would have. preventing 13 deaths and six heart attacks. (Some researchers have described the omission of high carbohydrates as the “opportunity cost” of the ultra-low-carb ketogenic diet.)
If fiber were a drug, we’d be all over it. But the average American gets only 16 grams a day—half of what we should be eating.
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The main reason for this has to do with what we eat now. Instead of eating fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, more than half of the calories Americans eat come from processed foods. Every day, almost 40 percent of Americans eat fast food. These processed and processed foods are often low in fiber, or no fiber at all. (A cup of cooked oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber and a pear has 6 grams, while a McDonald’s hamburger has 1 gram and a soda has none.)
This way of eating not only leads to weight gain and health problems associated with obesity; harms our gut health in a way that researchers are beginning to understand. That’s because the benefits of fiber are more complex than our prune-selling mothers and grandmothers appreciate.
Fiber doesn’t just help us poop better – it also nourishes our gut microbiome. Science, while still in its infancy, is interesting and points to the fact that fiber gap can be more dangerous than we thought.
Fiber (or “fiber,” as the researchers who study it say) is a group of different types of plant carbohydrates that affect our gastrointestinal tract in many ways. The main difference between fiber and other carbohydrates, such as starch and sugar, is that we cannot directly digest or absorb them. And some types of fiber can only be broken down by the gut microbiome, the ecology of trillions of different bacteria that balance our intestines and colon.
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Scientists have learned over the years that fiber can be soluble (meaning it dissolves in water), viscous (forms a gel), or fermented (bacteria can dissolve it)—and they’re still just beginning to understand how these different types of fiber work. interacts with our digestive system and affects our health.
Take cellulose, a type of fiber in fruits and vegetables: it is insoluble and non-fertilizable. Hemicellulose, found in bran, cannot be dissolved in water and does not form a gel (viscous), but it swells. Psyllium, in Metamucil, is water soluble, gel-forming, and less fermentable than other fibers. There is another class, known as “active fibers”: industrially processed but natural fibers (such as inulin or fructan) and synthetic fibers (such as polycarbophyll), all of which can be added to food and supplements.
Understanding these differences is important to our health because different fibers have different health effects on our digestive system, said William Chey, professor of gastroenterology and nutrition at the University of Michigan. Gel-forming fibers like psyllium, for example, hold water. So if your stool is hard, they can help soften it, Chey says. “If your chair is too loose, the ability to absorb water can add shape.”
Fertilization is important, he explained, because it indicates whether or not the gut microbiome recognizes fiber as a food source. Sour fiber can worsen gas and bloating, so people who experience these symptoms may need to adjust their diet. Researchers have shown that a low FODMAP diet – which limits fermented foods, including fibers such as fructan – can reduce irritable bowel syndrome.
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“Most doctors and people think that all fibers are created equal,” Chey added. “But different types of fiber have different properties in the gut, especially as they relate to the microbiome.”
Another thing you need to know about fiber is that people evolved to eat it – lots of it. Long before we learned to cook, domesticate animals, and put McDonald’s on every street corner, our evolutionary relatives—such as chimpanzees and bonobos—followed a fruit diet, feeding heavily on rich fruits, roots, sprouts, nuts, and seeds. There is also a lot of evidence that early humans tried to eat fiber-rich carbohydrates such as oats and acorns.
Today, the study of the Hadza people of Tanzania, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups in the world, is a useful example of how much fiber was consumed by early humans. Members of the tribe eat 100 to 150 grams of fiber a day — enough to fill about 50 Cheerios bowls, and 10 times what Americans do, as NPR reported. Their daily diet is rich in raw foods – tubers, berries, baobab fruits – and the Hadza people do not eat highly processed foods.
Researchers studying the effects of fiber on health, including Jens Walter of the University of Alberta, say Hadza’s preference for roughage should be a reminder of how far the human diet is from fiber.
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“In fact, in the last 5,000 years, and certainly in the last 100 years, we’ve taken all the fibers,” he said. “The average amount of fiber used so far is a small fraction of what we produce.” (Caveat: There are human communities – such as the Inuit in Greenland – who have adapted to living on a heavy diet of meat without much plant, but they are out there.)
This change cannot be attributed solely to the emergence of fiber-free processed and fast food in the mainstream economy. More than 10,000 years ago, before agriculture and selective breeding, the first fruits and vegetables were almost invisible by today’s standards.
Generations of farmers have grown them to be bigger and tastier – often increasing the sugar content and stripping them of fiber. Meanwhile, digestion cleaned out the grain fractions in our bread and baked goods, which were the main source of fiber, Walter said. And meat has replaced beans and lentils as the main source of protein in many parts of the world. Researchers are now documenting the health implications of these changes.
Because our intestines cannot directly digest fiber, we have long seen fiber as helpful in relieving constipation by adding bulk to the stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
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Another common benefit of fiber: It can help us feel fuller, so we eat less and possibly lose weight. (There is debate about the effect of fiber on satiety and eating. Recent systematic reviews of research show that the effect of fiber here is surprisingly modest, although some note that most research focuses on supplements rather than whole foods, which are supposed to be satiating. .)
Still, all of this was “before people [realized] how the nutrients we eat affect our gut bacteria,” said University of Michigan biologist Eric Martens.
Researchers now believe that fiber’s role in nourishing our gut microbiome—the ecosystem of microbes in our gut—is one of its biggest health benefits. They still don’t fully understand why fiber is so good for our gut, but they have some ideas.
Fermentable fiber—which includes all soluble fiber and some insoluble fiber—is digested, or fermented, by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This process produces chemicals, including short-chain fatty acids, which are important food sources for our gut bacteria.
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They also have health benefits, Martens said. Fatty chain fatty acids have been shown to stimulate the production of insulin, so we can better control the spikes in our blood sugar (or glucose), for example by helping to control type 2 diabetes. They also seem to have opposite properties.
“When we don’t eat enough fiber, we starve our gut microbiome,” says Jens Walter of Alberta, “which can be harmful for a variety of reasons. Maybe we’re losing diversity [of the microbiome]. “
Andrew Gewirtz of Georgia State University was among the researchers who observed that mice developed metabolic syndrome – obesity and related problems, such as diabetes and high cholesterol – when they were fed a high-fat diet. But
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