| Fiber causes gas, bloating, and other uncomfortable side effects. Research shows that a high-fiber diet may help prevent a cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments. Roughage now receives respect.
Most Americans don't eat enough fiber. According to the American Dietetic Association, the typical American eats about 11 grams of fiber a day. 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day are recommended for most people.
The Food and Drug Administration lists fiber's importance on the Nutrition Facts panel of food labels.
Dietary soluble fiber, when part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. In 1997, FDA approved the claim for certain foods containing whole oats and in 1998, for certain foods containing psyllium seed.
Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber-containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain fiber, particularly soluble fiber, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits and vegetables, which are low-fat foods and may contain fiber or vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of some cancers.
Some foods that contain high levels of soluble fiber are dried beans, oats, barley, and some fruits, notably apples and citrus, and vegetables, such as potatoes. Foods high in insoluble fiber are wheat bran, whole grains, cereals, seeds, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables. Navy beans and oatmeal are rich sources of soluble fiber.
Fiber found in plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, is composed of complex carbohydrates. Most plant foods contain some soluble and insoluble fiber.