It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the latest diet trends, but a particular nutrient could be the key to creating a healthier lifestyle. In fact, research shows that fiber and whole-grain foods have many long-term health benefits.
A study conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand states that consumers should eat a daily dose of 25-30g of fiber per day to improve health, lowering the chances of health risk like high cholesterol, inflammation and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, The Lancet medical journal published a research analysis on the relationship between the quality of carbohydrates and human health. The study examined people’s health patterns over the course of two decades and found that a diet containing more fiber had a positive impact on consumer’s overall well-being.
“The evidence is now overwhelming and this is a game-changer that people have to start doing something about it,” co-author of the study, Professor John Cummings tells BBC.
The study indicates that if you were to take a thousand people who contain a diet of 15g of fiber or lower, and upgrade their fiber intake to 25-29g it could have lifesaving health benefits overtime, reducing 13 deaths in relation to strokes, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
The results of the study further indicate a high fibre intake also reduces weight, decreases constipation, and reduces high blood pressure.
The Lancet study is currently in the process of being implemented as a set of guidelines for the World Health Organization, which will be creating a mandate next year on the beneficial eating patterns associated with a high fiber diet.
Besides the lifesaving benefits, the study is also relevant because many people are following a new trend of low carb diets to lose weight, which in turn lacks many of the fiber nourishments carbohydrates contain.
Nita Forouhi, a physician and academic, focusing on nutrition epidemiology states that consumers should pay special attention to the studies discovery. “Its findings do imply that, though increasingly popular in the community at large, any dietary regimes that recommend very low-carbohydrate diets should consider the opportunity cost of missing out on fiber from whole-grains.”
According to BBC News, the majority of people from around the globe are eating a serving of less than 20g of fiber per day.
Fiber is a reliable source of food because it makes the body feel full for an extended period of time since it takes longer for the stomach to digest, this leads to the satisfaction of being full from fewer calories.
More importantly fiber serves as a prominent food source for bacteria to feed off of when it reaches the colon, but when bacteria like microbes don’t have access to fiber, they can resort to eating the muscle lining of the gut instead, causing inflammation and health risks in the digestive system. Fiber is important for our digestive system because it allows bacteria in the large intestine to process it into healthy compounds like vitamins and nutrients.
“We have this organ set up to digest fiber, which a lot of people just don’t use very much,” states Professor Cummings.
With fiber being a highly accessible food item that comes in many varieties such as oats, whole wheat, lentils, and more, the nutrient could be the next big thing in food. As consumers become more aware of the power of fiber and its health benefits, retailers would be wise to prepare for a spike in fiber-rich purchases.