Fewer Than 1 in 10 Americans Meeting Dietary Fiber Recommendations

By Megan Brooks

June 14, 2021

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The vast majority of U.S. adults fail to meet adequate-intake guidelines for dietary fiber on a daily basis, new research indicates.

"Dietary fiber plays an important role in cardiovascular health, body weight regulation and gastrointestinal health. Based on our findings, fewer than 1 in 10 U.S. adults meet their daily recommendations for fiber intake," Dr. Derek Miketinas with Texas Woman's University in Houston noted in his presentation at Nutrition 2021, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 14,000 U.S. adults (51% women) who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2013 and 2018.

"Unlike other similar studies, our analysis estimated Americans' usual fiber intake using advanced statistical methods instead of calculating a simple average. This approach is a better indicator of what a person typically eats because it can account for other factors that may influence fiber intake," Dr. Miketinas explained in a conference statement.

Current U.S. guidelines peg an adequate fiber intake at 14 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed. Overall, however, the NHANES data show that only about 7.4% of U.S. adults are getting the recommended amount of daily fiber.

On average, women in the study consumed 9.9 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed and men consumed only 8.7 g/1,000 kcal.

Among adults with diabetes, women consumed 10.3 g/1,000 kcal and men consumed 9.6 g/1,000 kcal, higher than average but still short of recommendations.

"For those with diabetes, it is especially important to eat enough fiber since they are at a greater risk for heart disease," Dr. Miketinas said in a conference statement.

However, the proportion of adults overall who achieved the recommended adequate intake for fiber was low for all men (8.6% with diabetes vs. 4.3% without diabetes; P<0.001) and women (11.5% with diabetes vs. 8.0% without diabetes; P=0.012), the researchers report in their conference abstract.

Intake of total dietary fiber is "poor overall; over 90% of U.S. adults likely don't meet dietary fiber recommendations which could have deleterious health implications," Dr. Miketinas told the conference.

The study had no commercial funding and the authors have no relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3w8rA26 American Society for Nutrition, held online June 7-10, 2021.