Calories Letterpress

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It is probably safe to say that the most commonly held belief in nutrition today is that “a calorie is just a calorie”. In Nutrino, we always like to remind people to take this sentence with a grain of salt. The goal of this post is to explain why in Nutrino we don’t like to emphasize calorie counting.

So what are calories?

Calories are nothing but a unit of energy. Calories were invented in 1824 by the French physicist Nicolas Clément. More precisely, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree celsius (at sea level). In nutrition, we typically use kilocalories (although people often refer to them as ‘calories’ as well, which is a misnomer). 1 kilocalorie is equal to the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree celsius (in fact, Clément used the word calorie because in Latin calor means heat).

Then what do calories have to do with nutrition?

In the early 1900’s a German doctor named Carl von Noorden tried to use concepts from physics to study obesity. Van Noorden hypothesized that “a calorie is just a calorie” and claimed that no matter what you eat, if you consume more calories than you burn you are going to gain weight. In his view, there is just no way around it. This he said, is the result of the first law of thermodynamics, stating that

energy must always be conserved.

The energy you get from food cannot vanish. According to von Noorden, you either use it or store it as fat. We will later see that it can be used in other ways as well.

How do we know how many calories food has?

The original method was to place the food in a sealed container surrounded by water. Then the food was completely burned to ashes and the resulting rise in water temperature was measured. The number of calories in the food is defined to be the energy required to burn the food (and was measured by the change in temperature). This method is no longer used. Today we know that every gram of carbs or protein requires about four calories to burn, and every gram of fat requires about 9 calories to burn. This allows one to estimate the amount of calories in food just by knowing its composition of macronutrients.

The Upshot

Nutrition facts

Although “calorie in-calorie out” is a commonly held belief in nutrition and people are often obsessed with calorie counting, there are in fact a lot of problems with it.

Now I’m not going to argue that the first law of thermodynamics is false (the author is a trained physicist…) But what I am going to argue is that the notion of calories is misinterpreted in nutrition.

There are two issues with the caloric theory of food:

First, the driving mechanism behind caloric intake in the body is absorption, and not combustion. Our body is not a giant engine that burns the calories, it tries to absorb the calories to use them. This means that in the process of absorbing food, the body uses energy. Since the body is a complex biological system, it absorbs different calories in different ways. The absorption depends on the composition of the food. This means that a person who is eating a 2,000-calorie diet only from fat should burn a different amount of energy than if he would be eating a 2,000-calorie diet from carbs (by the way, this has to do with the second law of thermodynamics [1]).

This means that not all calories are created equal. In a 2012 study researchers followed 21 kids who ate the same number of calories but from different sources. They concluded that the type of calories consumed influences the number of calories burned [2]. As a second example, we’ve already discussed how adding nuts to the diet can actually aid in weight loss despite the naive calories in-calories out equation. This is a relatively hot topic in nutrition research, and today organizations like the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSi) are using more rigorous methods to better understand these  results [3, 4].

The second problem with the caloric theory of food is that our body doesn’t necessarily digests all the nutrients from foods. A lot of the energy is lost in feces and urine. The first law of thermodynamics holds for isolated systems. This means that the lost energy should be taken into consideration as well. This would be something that is very individual and depends on the fiber content, as well as the gut bacteria of the individual.

To prove my point, imagine drinking one liter of olive oil in one shot. A litter of olive oil contains almost 9,000 calories which is equivalent to one kilogram (or almost 2 pounds) of fat. Now do you really think you will gain two pounds of weight if you do so? Of course not. The most you are going to get from this is a very unhappy stomach (needless to say – please don’t try this at home).

For this reason, Nutrino does not emphasize calorie counting. We recommend focusing on fresh whole foods and to eat in moderation instead of counting calories. For more specific recommendations, please download the Nutrino app.

Further reading

[1] Anahad O’Connor, “‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?”, NY Times 2014

[2] Mark Hyman, M.D., “Why Calories Don’t Matter”, 2015

[3] Peter Attia, M.D., “Do Calories Matter?”, The Eating Academy

[4] Jane E. Grody, “Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdates”, NY Times, 2011

[5] Buchholz, Andrea C., and Dale A. Schoeller. “Is a calorie a calorie?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.5 (2004): 899S-906S.

References

[1] Feinman, Richard D., and Eugene J. Fine. “A calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics.” Nutr J 3.9 (2004).

[2] Ebbeling, Cara B., et al. “Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance.” Jama 307.24 (2012): 2627-2634.

[3] The effect of macronutrient composition on energy expenditure and fat balance – is it true that a calorie is a calorie?, NuSi

[4] The impact of macronutrient composition on energy expenditure during maintenance of weight loss, NuSi

 

health axiom, move more, eat food, drink water, exercise is medicine,get more sleep,wash your hands,teeth health,examine your body,prevent injuries

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Examine your body. Be aware of your body and how it looks or feels. Pay attention to new freckles or unusual hair growth or loss. If you are more tired or can not concentrate as usual, if you noticed a new lump in the breast or genitals, if your skin has persistent changes and if you have wounds or bruises that do not heal. In all of those cases you should tell your doctor. Treatment at the right time may prevent long term damage and will improve your health.

Don’t forget – you are the best expert on how your body looks and feels!

Happy 2015.

09_ExamineYourself09_ExamineYourself (1)

 

The Health Axioms were created by Involution Studios, and are shared according to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

health axiom, move more, eat food, drink water, exercise is medicine,get more sleep,wash your hands,teeth health,examine your body,prevent injuries

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In the United States injuries are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 44 [1]. Road accidents, falls, fires, drowning and violence are a partial cause of injuries. Know what you can do to prevent injuries and protect you and your family, and remember – better safe than sorry =)

08_BetterSafeThanSorry08_BetterSafeThanSorry (1)

 

The Health Axioms were created by Involution Studios, and are shared according to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

References

[1] CDC – centers for disease control and prevention.

Assorted nuts

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In the post #1 anticancer vegetable we have learned that two classes of vegetables: the cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli) and the allium vegetables (e.g. garlic and onion) most effectively suppress human cancer cell growth. Later we saw that cranberries and lemon are the most effective fruit in suppressing cancer. Today we will focus on another group of foods: nuts. Which is the best anticancer nut?

Nuts are described as nutritionally precious, packed with all sorts of goodies. In terms of antioxidant content, walnuts and pecans steal the show, but how do they do against cancer?

To learn more, watch this 4-minute video:

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] J Yang, R H Liu, L Halim. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common edible nut seeds. Food Science and Technology 2009 42:1 – 8.

[2] J P V Heuvel, B J Belda, D B Hannon, P M Kris-Etherton, J A Grieger, J Zhang, J T Thompson. Mechanistic examination of walnuts in prevention of breast cancer. Nutr Cancer 2012 64(7):1078 – 1086.

[3] C S Berkey, W C Willett, R M Tamimi, B Rosner, A L Frazier, G A Colditz. Vegetable protein and vegetable fat intakes in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls, and risk for benign breast disease in young women. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 2013 141(2):299 – 306.

[4] Y Bao, F B Hu, E L Giovannucci, B M Wolpin, M J Stampfer, W C Willett, C S Fuchs. Nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in women. Br J Cancer 2013 109(11):2911 – 2916.

[5] X Su, R M Tamimi, L C Collins, H J Baer, E Cho, L Sampson, W C Willett, S J Schnitt, J L Connolly, B A Rosner, G A Colditz. Intake of fiber and nuts during adolescence and incidence of proliferative benign breast disease. Cancer Causes Control 2010 21(7):1033 – 1046.

[6] P Papanastasopoulos, J Stebbing. Nuts and cancer: Where are we now? Lancet Oncol. 2013 14(12):1161 – 1162.

Mix of fresh fruits on wicker bascket

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Last week we discussed the best anticancer vegetables – garlic, onion, leek, broccoli, kale and a few others from the cruciferous or allium family. Today we will discuss the best anticancer fruits.

In this 5-minute video you’ll learn what are the most effective fruit against cancer and what amounts are need to suppress live cancer cells according to a Harvard’s study.

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] A. Cassidy, C. Kay, E. Rimm. Anthocyanin analysis in banana fruit. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2011 93(4):865-866.

[2] J. Sun, Y.-F. Chu, X. Wu, R. H. Liu. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common fruits. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2002 50(25):7449 – 7454

[3] C. C. Neto. Cranberries: Ripe for more cancer research? J. Sci. Food Agric. 2011 91(13):2303 – 2307

[4] B. Déziel, J. MacPhee, K. Patel, A. Catalli, M. Kulka, C. Neto, K. Gottschall-Pass, R. Hurta. American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) extract affects human prostate cancer cell growth via cell cycle arrest by modulating expression of cell cycle regulators. Food Funct 2012 3(5):556 – 564

[5] P. E. Milbury, J. A. Vita, J. B. Blumberg. Anthocyanins are bioavailable in humans following an acute dose of cranberry juice. J. Nutr. 2010 140(6):1099 – 1104

[6] N. P. Seeram, L. S. Adams, M. L. Hardy, D. Heber. Total cranberry extract versus its phytochemical constituents: Antiproliferative and synergistic effects against human tumor cell lines. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2004 52(9):2512 – 2517

[7] A. Cassidy, É. J. O’Reilly, C. Kay, L. Sampson, M. Franz, J. P. Forman, G. Curhan, E. B. Rimm. Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2011 93(2):338 – 347

[8] K. Kitdamrongsont, P. Pothavorn, S. Swangpol, S. Wongniam, K. Atawongsa, J. Svasti, J. Somana. Anthocyanin composition of wild bananas in Thailand. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2008 56(22):10853 – 10857

[9] Podmore ID, Griffiths HR, Herbert KE, Mistry N, Mistry P, Lunec J. Vitamin C exhibits pro-oxidant properties. Nature. 1998 Apr;392(6676):559.

[10] Milbury PE, Vita JA, Blumberg JB. Anthocyanins are bioavailable in humans following an acute dose of cranberry juice. J Nutr. 2010 Jun;140(6):1099-104. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

[11] Eberhardt MV, Lee CY, Liu RH. Antioxidant activity of fresh apples. Nature. 2000 Jun;405(6789):903-904.

vegetables on wooden table

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What is the best anticancer vegetable?

A landmark study pitted 34 common vegetables against 8 different types of human cancers. Breast cancer, brain tumors, kidney cancer, lung cancer, childhood brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer. Six vegetables were found cutting the cancer growth rate in half, and five vegetables stopped cancer growth completely!

In addition, there is one vegetable that completely 100% stopped cancer growth in 7 out of the 8 tumor lines.

To find out which anticancer vegetables you should eat if you have a strong family history of specific cancer, or just for maintain the healthiest that you can, watch this 9-minute video:

 

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] D. Boivin, S. Lamy, S. Lord-Dufour, J. Jackson, E. Beaulieu, M. C^ote, A. Moghrabi, S. Barrette, D. Gingras, and R. Beliveau. Antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of common vegetables: A comparative study. Food Chem., 112(2):374{380, 2009.

Whole grains

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We all know grains are good but there is more to the grains story than that. What are the health benefits of consuming whole grains? What makes a grain, whole? What are common sources of whole grains? This article will answer these questions and give you all the information you need to understand the whole story on whole grains and how to include them in your diet.

What are whole grains?

Whole grains are the entire grain seed of a plant. They can be consumed as a single food, such as oatmeal, brown rice, barley, or popcorn, or used as an ingredient in a food such as whole wheat flour in bread or cereal. The fiber content of different whole grain foods can vary considerably, depending on the food category and serving size. Some research demonstrates that the health-promoting effects of whole grains are attributed to more than fiber.

Refined grains differ from whole grains in that they have been milled to remove the bran and the germ from the grain. A diet that incorporates both whole and refined grains can provide balanced nutrition.

What are the health benefits of whole grains?

Eating a diet rich in whole grains may provide many health benefits including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, weight management, digestive health, and maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Additionally, studies continue to show that including enough whole grain foods as part of a healthy diet may help with heart disease prevention and management.  Researchers have even observed that diets rich in whole grain foods tend to decrease LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), triglycerides, and blood pressure, and increase HDL cholesterol (the  “good” cholesterol).

What are sources of whole grains?

There are many different types of whole grains including whole wheat, whole oats, whole grain cornmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole rye, whole-grain barley, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and sorghum.

Whole grains can be found in a wide variety of foods such as oatmeal and quinoa, or they can be used as an ingredient in a food, such as whole-wheat flour in bread, cereal or grain bars. Other less common whole grains include amaranth, emmer, farro, grano (lightly pearled wheat), spelt, and wheat berries.

How many whole grains should I consume?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans [1] recommend consuming at least half your grains as whole grains. This means that at least three ounce-equivalents of whole grains per day are necessary to achieve the dietary recommendation of making half your grains whole. Here are three easy ways to meet the recommendation:

1. Consume 3 ounces of 100% whole grains and 3 ounces of refined grains.

2. Consume 2 ounces of 100% whole grains, 2 ounces of partially whole grain products, and 2 ounces of refined-grain products.

3. Consume 6 ounces of partly whole grain products. 

What are some meal ideas that could incorporate whole grains into my diet?

Breakfast

– Steel cut oats with nuts and peaches

– Breakfast burrito made with whole wheat wrap

– Whole grain cereal with milk and banana

Lunch

– Mediterranean salad with whole wheat cous cous garbanzo beans, feta, tomatoes, and cucumber

– Quinoa salad with black beans, salsa and cheese

Dinner

– Chicken curry with brown rice

– Whole wheat linguine with peppers and ground turkey

Snack

– Popcorn

– Yogurt with toasted barley granola

References

[1] 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 7th edition

[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture on grains

[3] Whole Grains Council

 

 

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You may have heard the terms “probiotics” and “prebiotics” and generally know they are good for you but there’s more to learn about these powerful components. Probiotics and prebiotics play key roles in digestive health and may be important for preventing chronic diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. This article will give you all the information you need to understand what prebiotics and probiotics are and how they can improve your health. In addition, suggestions to incorporate probiotics and prebiotics into your diet will be provided so you can reap the benefits of these healthful components in your own life.

What are probiotics and prebiotics?

“Probiotics” are products that contain bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Lactobacillus that help promote GI health. In order to be classified as a probiotic, the specific strains must exhibit clinical health benefits and/or contain more than 108 organisms/gram at the end of manufacturing.

Prebiotics are, simply speaking, the “food” for beneficial bacteria. The definition of a prebiotic depends on three criteria: 1) prebiotics must be resistant to gastric acidity, hydrolysis by enzymes, and gastrointestinal absorption; 2) prebiotics must be fermented by intestinal microbiota; and 3) prebiotics must selectively simulate the growth and/or activity of the intestinal microbes associated with health and well-being. The use of prebiotics can help to maintain the bacteria found in the GI tract.

What are the health benefits?

Probiotics and prebiotics are most commonly known for their gastrointestinal and immune health benefits. Additionally, diets rich in probiotics and prebiotics can help reduce risk for certain types of cancers and colorectal diseases.

Probiotics may help:

  • Increase the number of helpful bacteria and reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your gut
  • Reduce the risk of certain infections, particularly those of the digestive tract
  • Control or reduce the risk of developing certain allergies
  • Prevent diarrhea and help with digestive regularity
  • Alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance

Prebiotics may help:

  • Improve absorption of minerals
  • Reduce the risk of colorectal disease
  • Enhance the immune system
  • Reduce inflammation

What are sources of probiotics and prebiotics?

Naturally fermented foods contain the highest amounts of live active cultures. These foods include yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, microalgae, and tempeh. While all these foods contain live cultures, to be classified as a “probiotic”, the live cultures must have documented health benefits. This is an important distinction since many products are labelled as containing “live active cultures” which may be confusing. For those who prefer not to consume probiotics in the form of food, probiotic supplements are a potential option to receive some of the health benefits. However, consuming probiotics from food sources have an added benefit since these foods may also contain fiber, micronutrients, and macronutrients.

Inulin, polydextrose, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are examples of prebiotics. Inulin, FOS, and GOS are naturally occurring carbohydrates found in foods such as bananas, honey, leeks, onions, and garlic.

How much should I consume?

Currently, there is no daily recommended intake for probiotics or prebiotics. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends increasing intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.

What are some meal ideas that could incorporate probiotics and prebiotics into my diet?

Breakfast
  • Yogurt with live cultures
  • Pancakes topped with flavored yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal with honey
Lunch
  • Peanut butter and honey sandwich
  • Spinach, leek, and artichoke dip with pita bread
Dinner
  • Garlic tomato sauce with fortified whole wheat penne pasta
  • Hamburger on a whole grain bun with sauerkraut slaw
  • Kabobs with onions, pineapple, peppers and steak
Snack
  • Banana with drizzled honey
  • Smoothie with yogurt, orange juice, honey and banana

 

References

[1] 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 7th edition. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/PolicyDoc.pdf

[2] Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/probiotics/AN00389

[3] National Institutes of Health. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics

 

8ad9b624-eff2-47d5-93e9-4bef7a2c9a50

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Right now, almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and by 2030 more than half of our population may be clinically obese. Childhood obesity has tripled, and most of them will grow up to be overweight as well. The food industry blames inactivity. We just need to move more, but what is the role of exercise in the treatment of obesity?

To learn more, watch this 4-minute video:

 

 

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] K. R. Westerterp, J. R. Speakman. Physical activity energy expenditure has not declined since the 1980s and matches energy expenditures of wild mammals. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 32(8):1256 – 1263.

[2] Y. C. Wang, K. McPherson, T. Marsh, S. L. Gortmaker, M. Brown. Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK. Lancet. 2011 378(9793):815 – 825.

[3] J. G. Bohlen, J. P. Held, M. O. Sanderson, R. P. Patterson. Heart rate, rate-pressure product, and oxygen uptake during four sexual activities. Arch Intern Med. 1984 144(9):1745.

[4] J. O. Hill, H. R. Wyatt, J. C. Peters. Energy balance and obesity. Circulation. 2012 126(1):126 – 132.

[5] D. M. Thomas, C. Bouchard, T. Church, C. Slentz, W. E. Kraus, L. M. Redman, C. K. Martin, A. M. Silva, M. Vossen, K. Westerterp, S. B. Heymsfield. Why do individuals not lose more weight from an exercise intervention at a defined dose? An energy balance analysis. Obes Rev. 2012 13(10):835 – 847.

[6] K. Casazza, K. R. Fontaine, A. Astrup, L. L. Birch, A. W. Brown, M. M. B. Brown, N. Durant, G. Dutton, E. M. Foster, S. B. Heymsfield, K. McIver, T. Mehta, N. Menachemi, P. K. Newby, R. Pate, B. J. Rolls, B. Sen, D. L. Smith Jr, D. M. Thomas, D. B. Allison. Myths, presumptions, and facts about obesity. N Engl J Med. 2013 368(5):446 – 454.

[7] S. Dowray, J. J. Swartz, D. Braxton, A. J. Viera. Potential effect of physical activity based menu labels on the calorie content of selected fast food meals. Appetite. 2013 62:173 – 181.

[8] E. R. Laskowski. The role of exercise in the treatment of obesity. Platinum Met. Rev. 2012 4(11):840 – 844.

[9] B. Swinburn, G. Sacks, E. Ravussin. Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2009 90(6):1453 – 1456.

[10] L. Dwyer-Lindgren, G. Freedman, R. E. Engell, T. D. Fleming, S. S. Lim, C. J. Murray, A. H. Mokdad. Prevalence of physical activity and obesity in US counties, 2001-2011: A road map for action. Popul Health Metr. 2013 11(1):7.

[11] B. Neal. Fat chance for physical activity. Popul Health Metr. 2013 11(1):9.

[12] Michele Simon. 2013. Clowning Around With Charity: How McDonald’s Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children. Eat Drink Politics.

Fiber

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Even with a large body of research that shows fiber contributes to a human health, research shows that Americans are still not consuming the recommended amounts of fiber each day [1-2]. Are you getting enough fiber? Read on to learn all about what fiber is, why you need it, and where to find it in food. This article will also provide helpful strategies so you can make fiber a focal point of your diet.

What is fiber?

Dietary fiber is the part of plants that cannot be digested and is often referred to as the “roughage” or “bulk.” Fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. It passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of your body. Dietary fiber naturally occurs in plants, helps provide a feeling of fullness, and is important in promoting digestive health.

Reading the nutrition facts panel will help you understand the fiber content in a food product. Dietary fiber is listed on every nutrition facts panel, so it’s easy to find foods rich in fiber. Foods with at least 10% of your Daily Value for fiber are considered a “good source,” while foods with 20% or more of your daily value are considered an “excellent source” of fiber.

What are the health benefits of fiber?

Consuming a diet rich in fiber can benefit health in many ways including providing digestive health benefits and weight management. Additionally, diets rich in fiber are associated with a reduced risk for developing certain diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type II diabetes.

  • Fiber plays an important role in maintaining digestive health. Fiber cannot be broken down in your digestive tract, so instead of being absorbed, like other nutrients, it pushes the contents of your gut along. Remember to add fiber slowly to your diet to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort. Consult with a Registered Dietitian or doctor before making any major changes to your fiber intake.
  • Fiber can help with weight management. Foods high in fiber are processed more slowly by the body and tend to produce a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. High fiber foods require more chewing and may take longer to eat, giving your body time to recognize that it is full. Additionally, diets high in fiber can help support a healthier body weight.
  • Fiber also plays a role in lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Whole grain oats, oat bran, oatmeal, oat flour, barley and rye provide a particular form of soluble fiber known as beta glucan which has been shown to help lower cholesterol. Beta glucan from whole grain oats forms a gel in the digestive tract. This gel binds cholesterol in the small intestine and helps remove it from the body. Consuming foods rich in soluble fiber, like oats, may also help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Fiber acts like a clean up crew for your body. Diets rich in fiber are associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer such as colon cancer and breast cancer. Additionally, some research suggests that fiber may help reduce the risk of type II diabetes.

What are fiber-rich sources?

Fiber occurs naturally in a number of foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Beans and peas like navy beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, and black beans are also rich sources of fiber. Additionally, fiber is being added to many other packaged foods such as baked goods, granola bars, and cereals for added health benefits

How much fiber should I consume?

The RDI for fiber is 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed each day. To find out how many calories is recommended, visit Food Plans at MyPlate.Gov. Additionally, fiber intake can be calculated based on age and gender:

Gender Age 50 or younger Age 51 or older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams
Chart adapted from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

What are some meal ideas that could incorporate fiber into my diet?

Breakfast
  • Steel cut oats with chia seeds and apples
  • Whole wheat blueberry pancakes
Lunch
  • Spinach salad with chicken
  • Bean burrito with cabbage slaw
Dinner
  • Peppers stuffed with barley and lentils
  • Pork BBQ with baked beans and broccoli
Snack
  • Granola bar fortified with fiber
  • Popcorn

 

References

[1] USDA National Nutrient Database. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov

[3] U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.choosemyplate.gov

[4] Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033/METHOD=print