You should eat more fiber for a number of health reasons – the main one is that higher intakes are linked to lower cardiac and metabolic risks, so that apart from anything else, you’re likely to live longer. The most recent National Health And Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES II and III) ran from 1999 to 2010, and provided data that were analyzed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, scientists; they published their findings in the American Journal of Medicine.
There were 23,000 men and women over 20 in the population analyzed. The risks of developing the metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation, and obesity – themselves cardiovascular risk factors – were determined for five groups based on different levels of fiber intake. This information came from computer-assisted in-person 24-hour dietary intake interviews. The groups, or quintiles, comprised: 1 - 8.1 g, 8.1 - 12 g, 12 to 16.2 g, 16.2 – 22.4 g, and 22.5 – 147 g fiber.
The analyses showed that participants in the highest quintile of fiber consumption (i.e. more than 22.5 g/day) had lower risks for cardiovascular inflammation than those in the lowest quintile (less than 8.1 g/day). When possible differences in results according to ethnicity were examined, it was found that only Whites had lower risks for obesity and the metabolic syndrome if they were high fiber consumers.
This study shows that the intake of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended level for the US population. Young males ate almost 20 g/day less, and older females ate more – about 6 g/day below the recommended intake of fiber (men 38 g, females 25 g daily). Lower fiber intake was clearly related to a higher level of cardiovascular risk factors. And there are a number of other health benefits. So, for once, listen to the ads, and take more fiber. The best sources are: vegetables (not grains), legumes (peas, beans), fruits, and nuts.