Only 7% of US adults meet daily fiber intake recommendation


Miketinas DC, et al. Usual dietary fiber intake in U.S. adults with diabetes: NHANES 2013-2018. Presented at: Nutrition Live Online 2021. June 7-10, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Healio Primary Care could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.

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Just 7.4% of U.S. adults met the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily adequate intake of 14 g of fiber for every 1,000 kcals, data from a recent 5-year period show.

In addition, although patients with prediabetes and diabetes ate more fiber than the overall U.S. adult population, they still consumed less than the recommended amount, researchers said.

Image of foods containing fiber

Researchers found that American adults with diabetes consumed more fiber than the general population overall, but their intake was still less than what is currently recommended. Photo source: Adobe Stock.

“Previous research has examined the importance of fiber for health parameters in people with diabetes,” Derek C. Miketinas, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, told Healio Primary Care. “However, estimates of fiber intake for people with diabetes were lacking.”

Derek C. Miketinas

Miketinas and colleagues analyzed data from 14,640 nonpregnant adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANE) Survey from 2013 to 2018. Among the entire cohort, 26.4% had prediabetes, 17.4% had diabetes and the rest had normal glycemic levels.

The analysis, presented at Nutrition Live, showed that women consumed more fiber than men (9.9 g/1,000 kcal vs. 8.7 g/1,000 kcal; P < .0001). Those with diabetes reported greater dietary fiber intake compared with those without diabetes — this included both men (9.6 g/1,000 kcal vs. 8.6 g/1,000 kcal; P < .0001) and women (10.3 g/1,000 kcal vs. 9.7 g/1,000 kcal; P < .01). However, the proportion of adults who met the daily adequate intake for fiber was low for all men (8.6% among those with diabetes vs. 4.3% among those without diabetes; P < .001) and women (11.5% among those with diabetes vs. 8% among those without diabetes; P = .012).

Factoring in fiber supplements in their analysis of the NHANES data would have had little impact on the results, according to Miketinas.

“Our estimates of inadequate intake would be lower but not by much,” he said.

Patients who ask about the use of supplements need to know that not all products are the same, according to Miketinas.

“Health care professionals should consider their patients’ goals and consult the literature to identify whether a specific supplement formulary may improve the health parameters of interest,” he said. “Drug-nutrient interactions should also be considered, since fiber can impair the absorption of some drugs and nutrients.”

Cereals, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes and plant-based foods are less risky ways patients can add fiber to their diets, he said.

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