High fiber diet

Synonyms

Bulk, colon cancer, constipation, dietary fiber, diverticulosis, gastrointestinal, high cholesterol, high fiber, insoluble fiber, irregularities, psyllium, roughage, soluble fiber, wheat, wheat flour, whole grain.

Background

The high fiber diet is a diet that incorporates large amounts of dietary fiber. Adding fiber, or bulk, in the diet is thought to help keep the bowels regular and possibly treat or prevent certain diseases. This diet involves specifically choosing a variety of foods that have high fiber content. A high fiber diet usually contains 20-35g of fiber per day.

According to the American Dietetic Association, the average American eats only about 12-17g of fiber per day, far less than the recommend daily intake of 20-35g. Only about 1/4 of this average daily intake is soluble fiber; therefore, the average American is eating only 3-4g of soluble fiber per day, which is well below the recommended amount of 5-10g.

Dietary fiber, also referred to as roughage or bulk, is the part of a plant that cannot be digested or absorbed by the body. Dietary fiber is found in grains, fruits, and vegetables. There is no fiber in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products. Soluble fiber can be found in foods such as oat bran, apples, citrus, pears, peas, beans, potatoes, seeds, oranges, grapefruit and (a plant product used in common over-the-counter bulk laxative and fiber supplement products such as Metamucil). Soluble fiber is dissolved in water and forms a jelly-like bulk inside the small intestine, which may help to lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar. Soluble fibers act mostly in the small intestine, since they are destroyed in the large intestine through bacterial action.

Insoluble fibers cannot be dissolved in water and are not destroyed by bacteria in the colon. They are found in wheat bran, corn bran, nuts, cabbage, and root vegetables. Insoluble fibers work mainly in the colon where they add bulk and help retain water, resulting in a softer and larger stool, which may aid in the treatment of constipation.

The treatment of several gastrointestinal conditions is based upon the establishment of increased fiber in one's diet. Such conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and internal/external hemorrhoids. Some research data also indicates that increasing the amount of fiber in the diet may decrease the incidence of colon cancer. Colon cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among cancers in the Western world. Additional benefits of a high fiber diet may include more favorable cholesterol levels and a lower risk of developing heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized food companies to use a health claim for soluble fiber from both psyllium and oats. For example, the new claim for psyllium states, "Soluble fiber from foods with psyllium husk, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."

The high fiber diet is a diet that incorporates large amounts of dietary fiber. Adding fiber, or bulk, in the diet is thought to help keep the bowels regular and possibly treat or prevent certain diseases. This diet involves specifically choosing a variety of foods that have high fiber content. A high fiber diet usually contains 20-35g of fiber per day.

According to the American Dietetic Association, the average American eats only about 12-17g of fiber per day, far less than the recommend daily intake of 20-35g. Only about 1/4 of this average daily intake is soluble fiber; therefore, the average American is eating only 3-4g of soluble fiber per day, which is well below the recommended amount of 5-10g.

Dietary fiber, also referred to as roughage or bulk, is the part of a plant that cannot be digested or absorbed by the body. Dietary fiber is found in grains, fruits, and vegetables. There is no fiber in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products. Soluble fiber can be found in foods such as oat bran, apples, citrus, pears, peas, beans, potatoes, seeds, oranges, grapefruit and (a plant product used in common over-the-counter bulk laxative and fiber supplement products such as Metamucil). Soluble fiber is dissolved in water and forms a jelly-like bulk inside the small intestine, which may help to lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar. Soluble fibers act mostly in the small intestine, since they are destroyed in the large intestine through bacterial action.

Insoluble fibers cannot be dissolved in water and are not destroyed by bacteria in the colon. They are found in wheat bran, corn bran, nuts, cabbage, and root vegetables. Insoluble fibers work mainly in the colon where they add bulk and help retain water, resulting in a softer and larger stool, which may aid in the treatment of constipation.

The treatment of several gastrointestinal conditions is based upon the establishment of increased fiber in one's diet. Such conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and internal/external hemorrhoids. Some research data also indicates that increasing the amount of fiber in the diet may decrease the incidence of colon cancer. Colon cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among cancers in the Western world. Additional benefits of a high fiber diet may include more favorable cholesterol levels and a lower risk of developing heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized food companies to use a health claim for soluble fiber from both psyllium and oats. For example, the new claim for psyllium states, "Soluble fiber from foods with psyllium husk, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."


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