Reseach Confirms That Americans -- Especially Children -- Need to Increase Dietary Fiber

 

Anaheim, CA, June 8, 2009 – Americans need to increase the amount of fiber they’re currently getting to reach the Institute of Medicine recommendations 1, and children especially need more fiber in their diets. Why and how to do so was the focus of the June 7 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) symposium  Fiber: The Heart of the Whole Grain in Anaheim, Calif. Speakers at this session included leading researchers Joanne Lupton, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University; Theresa Nicklas, Ph.D. of Baylor University; and Michael Falk of the Life Sciences Research Organization.

            Fiber is associated with a host of health benefits and is especially important for children. Studies show that children with higher fiber intakes are less likely to be overweight than those with lower fiber intakes2. Getting enough fiber as a child also helps to prevent constipation3, establishes lifelong healthful eating habits3, and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system and blood-sugar levels4. Despite these health benefits, nine out of 10 children are not getting the recommended amount of fiber5.

            Fiber also promotes intestinal health. Constipation is a common problem during childhood and accounts for 25 percent of visits to pediatric gastroenterology clinics6. In one study of 52 children, the group with chronic constipation had one-fourth the fiber intake of those who did not suffer from chronic constipation7.  

“Fiber is a shortfall nutrient – one that is significantly lacking in the U.S. diet,” says Dr. Lupton. “Including nutrient-dense sources of fiber in your diet can boost fiber intake and maximize your overall nutrient intake. Improving the fiber intake in children’s diets can help set up lifelong healthy habits.”

Unfortunately, Americans are getting fiber from the wrong sources. According to Dr. Lupton, the greatest source of fiber from vegetables is French fries and the greatest source of fiber from grains is hot dog and hamburger buns. More nutrient-dense sources of fiber, including higher fiber breakfast cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables, are smarter choices for adding fiber to children’s diets.

It is important for parents to understand the importance of fiber for children, not just from a nutritional perspective, but also from a lifestyle perspective.  The sooner children know about the importance of fiber, the more likely they are to incorporate more fiber-rich foods into their diets. 

Also during this symposium at IFT, Dr. Nicklas presented data that fiber is one of the main reasons people buy products made with whole grains, but many foods made with whole grains do not provide at least a good source of fiber. Dr. Nicklas said that while whole-grain foods are good for you, foods that provide whole grain and fiber give you the maximum health benefits.

Finally, Dr. Michael Falk reviewed a report by the Life Sciences Research Office, funded by Kellogg Company, which shows the health benefits commonly attributed to whole grains, including heart-disease prevention, are more accurately associated with the fiber-rich bran components of whole grain. 

             To make it easier for families to add more fiber to their diets, Kellogg Company recently announced that it is adding fiber to many of its most popular cereals in the U.S., as well as in Canada.   By the end of 2010, nearly 80 percent of the Company’s U.S. ready-to-eat cereals will be good to excellent sources of fiber. Since fiber is so important to children’s health, Kellogg is first increasing the fiber in some of its most popular children’s cereals. Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Apple Jacks with fiber will be the first products to appear on store shelves in August.

“Kellogg’s commitment to increasing the nutrition content of its products without compromising taste or quality is a key part of the Company’s 100-plus year legacy,” says Nelson Almeida, Ph.D., vice president, global nutrition, Kellogg Company. “Kellogg has been helping families increase the fiber in their diets since the Company introduced Kellogg's Bran Flakes and All-Bran, in 1915 and 1916 respectively.”

With 2008 sales of nearly $13 billion, Kellogg Company is the world’s leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods. The Company’s brands include Kellogg’s®, Keebler®, Pop-Tarts®, Eggo®, Cheez-It®, All-Bran®, Mini-Wheats® Nutri-Grain®, Rice Krispies®, Special K®, Chips Deluxe®, Famous Amos®, Sandies®, Bear Naked®, Kashi®, MorningStar Farms®, Gardenburger® and Stretch Island®. Kellogg products are manufactured in 19 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit www.kelloggcompany.com. Kellogg Company’s Corporate Responsibility report including its approach, progress and future direction in the marketplace, workplace, environment and community can be found at www.kelloggcompany.com/CR. For information on Kellogg Company’s commitment to nutrition, visit www.kelloggsnutrition.com.

 

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1 Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes; Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat Fatty 

   Acids,Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Washington, DC. National Academics Press 2002.

2 Pereira et al (2001) Dietary fiber in infancy and childhood Proc Nutr Soc 62: 17-23 .

3 Edwards et al (2003) Dietary fiber in infancy and childhood Proc Nutr Soc 62: 17-23.

4 International Food Information Council (2008) Fiber Fact Sheet. See www.IFIC.org.

5  What We Eat in America National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 see

    www.ars.usda.gov

6 Loening-Baucke (1993) Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Dietary Reference Intakes for

   Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids.

7 Morais MB, Vitolo MR, Aguirre ANC, Fagundes-Neto UF. 1999. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology

   and Nutrition. 29:132-135.

 

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