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March 20,  2002

America's Fiber Deficit: Most Americans Only Getting Half The Recommended Amount of Fiber

(SafetyAlerts) - America is facing a new kind of deficit -- this one is health-related. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recently announced that most Americans are only getting about half, or 14-15 grams, of the 25-35 grams of dietary fiber they need each day(1).

Dr. Geoffrey G. Ross, former medical advisor to the U.K. Department of Health and currently Director, Medical Affairs to Novartis Consumer Health, says that's bad news for Americans, as dietary fiber has numerous benefits for health maintenance.

"Clinical research has demonstrated that adequate fiber can contribute to a number of health benefits, including maintaining regularity," Dr. Ross explains. "Dietary fiber is found primarily in minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To get the daily recommended dosages of fiber, consumers should eat substantial portions of these foods every day. The failure of most Americans to do so has caused a fiber deficit in this country."

Dr. Ross notes that the culprits for this deficit include Americans' active lifestyles, love of unhealthy, highly processed foods and lack of awareness about fiber and its importance to health.

"American lifestyles are more fast-paced and on-the-go than ever, leaving some people little time to eat the recommended portions of these foods," says Dr. Ross. "Others can't or simply don't enjoy eating large portions of these foods everyday."

Survey Says: Americans Want Easy Solution

A recent survey reveals that most Americans know about fiber's benefits, and they know they probably don't get enough fiber in their daily diets. However, they also don't want to have to eat large portions of the right foods to get enough fiber.

Of 1,000 American surveyed, 74% said either they don't get enough fiber daily or that they don't know if they get enough fiber. Almost all respondents, 95%, don't know how much fiber they get, although 82% were aware of the healthy benefits of adequate fiber intake.

And while the majority (90%) of those surveyed were able to name good sources of fiber, only about a third (34%) were willing to eat enough foods such as whole grain bread to reach the daily recommended amount of fiber.

"The survey indicates that Americans know they need more fiber in their diets, but they aren't willing to eat the foods necessary to get that fiber," Dr. Ross said. "They are looking for a simpler solution to get the fiber they need."

Fiber by the Numbers

The chart below illustrates the kinds of foods that offer dietary fiber and the quantities of dietary fiber each delivers per serving(3):

Food Serving Size Fiber

Vegetables (fresh)
Asparagus 1 cup 3 grams
Green beans (cooked) 1 cup 4 grams
Broccoli 1 cup 5 grams
Carrots 1 cup 5 grams
Corn (cooked) 1 medium 4 grams
Romaine lettuce 1 cup 0 grams
Spinach 1 cup 1 gram
Tomato 1 cup 2 grams

Apple 1 medium 2.5 grams
Banana 1 medium 2 grams
Peach 1 medium 1 grams
Strawberries 1 cup 4 grams
Watermelon 1 slice 2 grams

Whole Grains
100% whole wheat bread 1 slice 2 grams
Cheerios (General Mills) 1 cup 2 grams

Dr. Ross explains that some consumers who find it difficult to eat large portions of fiber-rich foods take a natural fiber supplement to help them reach their daily fiber goals. The problem with these products, he explains, is that many, like Metamucil(R) and Citrucel(R) (4), taste gritty and can thicken or gel when mixed with water, making them difficult to swallow.

Source: PRNewswire

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.